Last month news emerged that London’s e-scooter operators were developing a new ‘universal sound’ to warn pedestrians of approaching machines.
But the need for a new sound has been disputed by a vehicle safety firm, which argues white noise technology to improve e-scooter safety already exists.
Brigade Electronics, the UK-base developer of vehicle camera systems, has argued that its bbs-tek White Sound alarms are the best way of improving the safety of electric scooters in cities.
Safety campaigner and founder of Brigade, Chris Hanson-Abbott OBE, said: “It’s admirable that the Government is looking into improving the safety of scooters as more and more are seen on the nation’s paths and pavements.
“Scooters are hard to hear at low speeds and are fast enough that they can easily take a pedestrian by surprise, especially if they are distracted by their phone or are listening to music, and cause serious harm or worse.
“White Noise technology can alert pedestrians to an oncoming scooter quickly and efficiently and Brigade, which introduced the reversing alarm to the UK back in 1976, stands ready to provide a proven product that is trusted by drivers and fleet operators across the world to reduce scooter accidents.”
In late January, London e-scooter operators announced they they were joining forces to develop a new ‘universal sound,’ alerting pedestrians to approaching scooters.
With the help of researchers from University College London, the universal sound will eventually be installed on Tier, Lime and Dott shared machines in the hopes of improving safety for pedestrians, particularly people with sight loss.
After shared e-scooter trials launched in London last summer, disability and accessibility groups have raised concerns about the impacts e-scooters are having on people with visual and other impairments.
To alleviate these fears, London’s leading scooter operators have decided to develop the universal sound with the backing of Transport for London and the Royal National Institute for Blind People.
But Brigade’s co-founder argues that its trademarked White Sound, which is described as a ‘ssh ssh’ noise, can operate effectively at five decibels lower than conventional beeping alarms.
It can be heard clearly even over headphones, ear defenders, and by people with hearing difficulties, according to the firm.
They are endorsed by PIEK and the Noise Abatement Society and have been awarded the Quiet Mark for their environmental benefits.