Electric vehicle car charging cables hanging out of windows and draped over pavements have been labelled as “unsafe” and “ludicrous” by various charities, as they ask authorities and manufacturers for improvements in charging infrastructure to make it safe for people walking on the pavements.
The charities involved in campaigning for the risk to pedestrian safety because of EV cables are National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK), Living Streets and Guide Dogs, according to MailOnline’s financial website This is Money.
The NFBUK, which campaigns for the blind and partially sighted, has said it is “totally unsafe” and “ludicrous” for homeowners to run cables from their houses to charge their cars.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “With the growth in electric vehicle ownership it is essential the infrastructure for charging them keeps up with the sales. Expecting people to charge them with cables coming from out their houses crossing pavements is absolutely ludicrous and is it unsafe.
“They can become trip hazards and the cables should not be allowed to cross the pavements. It is totally unsafe for homeowners to run cables from their houses to charge their cars. It’s imperative the charging for electric vehicles is undertaken on the road with no cables being present on any part of the pavement.
“Pavements are for people to use to get to A to B on foot or by using mobility device, not for EV charging cables. The local authorities along with the EV companies should be working together to ensure off pavement charging facilities are designed that do not impact the safety and accessibility of the pavement for blind, visually impaired, disabled and older pedestrians.
“This will ensure those people purchasing such vehicles will be able to do so with our impacting other people’s safety and accessibility.”
Living Streets, a charity which campaigns for “everyday walking” also issued a warning about “trailing cables” on pavements. The charity’s Director of Policy and Communications Tanya Braun said that the rollout of EV charging points should not come at the expense of pedestrians.
“Trailing cables present serious problems for people with wheelchairs, buggies or guide dogs, preventing them from getting around easily and safely. Cluttered pavements also impact on everyone’s desire to walk their short journeys instead of driving them. If we want to encourage cleaner, sustainable ways to travel then we need streets that are walkable.”
Guide Dogs, which campaigns for the visually impaired, also said “poorly planned” charging infrastructure create “unnecessary” trip hazards for people with vision impairments.
Chris Theobold from the charity said: “Street clutter on pavements remains one of the main challenges facing blind and partially sighted people, with 97 per cent of people with a vision impairment encountering problems with street obstacles.”
“Obstacles like pavement parking, wheelie bins and dockless rental bikes and e-scooters in larger towns and cities make safely navigating pavements more of a challenge. While poorly planned charging infrastructure placed on pavements and charging cables stretched across pavements only create further unnecessary trip hazards which are hard to detect and avoid for people with a vision impairment.
“Long cane users are bound to snag their canes on wires running across pavements, which could cause injury and would certainly be stressful, particularly if it happens every few metres. A guide dog would most likely step over a cable, but a guide dog owner may not realise the cable is there, which could result in them tripping and falling.
He added that local authorities needed to work with manufacturers to make use of common street features like bollard to incorporate charging facilities and make it easier. He said that bollards which are typically close to the kerb can prevent cables from running across the pavement.
In December, the AA warned the Government was not meeting demand for car charging points as Tesla owners faced huge queues at service stations. However, there has been a considerable increase in the number of charging points available in cities.
Last month, we had reported that 10,000 electric vehicle chargers across 1,500 locations are to be delivered in Surrey by the end of this decade. Meanwhile, London Borough alone is set to have over 2,000 EV charging points by 2024. Overall, the number of devices has increased by 31 per cent over the last year, with 8,680 installations across the UK, with a total 37,055 public EV chargers, according to recent figures.
However, just under half of the devices are classed as “destination”, meaning they are installed where a driver may stop for an extended period of time like a car parks , leisure or education area.