Andy Wheeler, Training Director at TTC Group, the UK’s leading experts on road safety training, explains how rider education is important in helping Voi create better cities for living.
At TTC Group we are delighted to partner with Voi since April 2022, hosting and delivering Voi’s e-scooter safe riding skills events. TTC’s educational mission aligns with Voi’s vision to always put safety first to create better cities for living.
Voi provides invaluable micromobility services for people seeking a sustainable and safe transport alternative to car journeys. Their shared e-scooters and e-bikes are a perfect replacement for cars in the city centres and, at the same time, serve to complement public transport for commuters.
Since launching its e-scooters and e-bikes in 17 towns and cities across the UK, Voi has prioritised the safety of riders, pedestrians and other road users, organising regular in-person and online safety training, incentivising and rewarding riders to complete its RideLikeVoila e-learning modules.
By collaborating with us, Voi has taken its in-person rider education to the next level, with 50 one-day in-person training events in the biggest cities where Voi currently operates e-scooter hire schemes, aiming to reach over 2,500 novice e-scooter riders.
We are now more than halfway through the delivery of its current e-scooter safe riding skills programme and riders of all abilities can take part in one-hour off-road and on-road practical riding skills sessions delivered at weekends by experienced rider trainers.
We have been pleased by interest levels in the free Voi e-scooter safe riding skills sessions. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from those who have attended these highly practical, informative sessions so far, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 and over 92% of participants stating that they would definitely recommend it to a friend or family member.
During the rider skills safety training events delivered by TTC Group, free helmets are distributed to participants. While helmet use is currently not mandatory for e-scooter riders in the UK, Voi recommends and incentivises riders to wear one via regular in-person and online communications, and in-app messaging. To date, Voi has given away thousands of free helmets to its riders in the UK. The extension of the e-scooter trials until May 2024, offers the opportunity for Voi to continue its partnership with TTC Group and further develop Voi’s rider education programmes.
However, at TTC we recognise that the UK still lags behind European counterparts in embedding micromobility into its local transport system, there are still numerous issues to be tackled by both central government and local authorities to drive the uptake of these new and more sustainable modes of urban transport with other forms and transform our city streets.
The political desire to support and invest in behaviour change has been set out by Trudy Harrison, MP, Under Secretary of State for active travel in the current Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS2). “Faced with the rising cost of living and a warming planet, there is a renewed sense of urgency to act, and act fast, in choosing lower cost greener forms of travel. The past two years have shown that active travel is a practical and popular way of getting around for many people, provided the conditions are right. We’ve already made significant progress, but now we must push on.”
Whilst concerns about the adequacy of funding have been raised, TTC welcomes the government’s commitment to tackle road safety and personal safety concerns for vulnerable road users with future infrastructure investment and policy development. Hopefully, this will reduce some of the barriers to shared micromobility use by women in particular.
We heartily agree with Bikeability Chair Emily Cherry’s call for funding to be made readily available by the central government to develop approved micromobility road safety training programmes; “As more people choose to cycle and scoot, whether that be human-powered or with electric assist, approved training programmes need to be in place to ensure that active travellers can share the road safely with other users”.
At a local level, increasing the space in towns and cities dedicated to vulnerable road users by developing more dedicated and improving shared micromobility infrastructure is crucial to improving safety levels and encouraging mode shift. In addition, replacing car parking bays with dedicated micromobility parking will help to further reduce pavement hazards for pedestrians.
It’s clear that some cities have made a start, but there’s still a long way to go. We can only hope that political will, combined with the current economic and environmental drivers will be sufficient to forge the changes to local transport infrastructure necessary to stimulate the behavioural change that reduces congestion and pollution so our cities can truly transform for the better.