Electric cars make getting around as a pedestrian increasingly impossible

Man's hand plugs electric car into home charging port
Man's hand plugs electric car into home charging port

Electric cars, as we are forever being told, are good for the environment, cleaning up city air and leading to fewer carbon emissions. Except, that is, when they are stopping people getting about on foot because their owners don’t want to use public chargers and are trying to save money by dangling charging cables across the pavement.

Anyone else getting fed up of having to step over these things? Whole neighbourhoods are becoming blighted by cables. And no, it is not alright, as with one house I passed this morning, to put up a bright yellow sign saying “trip hazard”. The hazard shouldn’t be there at all. If it is there next time I pass the house I have a good mind to stage a pratfall and then ring one of these no win, no fee lawyers.

It was entirely predictable that we would end up with electric car owners laying cables across the pavement, and yet, as with everything to do with net zero, the problem was ignored. The holy grail of net zero takes precedence over everything else.

According to the charging app ZapMap the average cost of charging an electric car at home is 24 pence per kilowatt-hour, compared with 80 pence for using a public charger. Inevitably the 8 million people who live in homes without off street parking are going to try to get away with charging at home, trying to possess the street in front of their homes in the process.

There are companies which will dig you a little channel so that you can sink in your charging cable without tripping over pedestrians, but given that it costs £2000 a time, funnily enough motorists don’t want to pay that either.

Electric cars are completely incompatible with houses without off-street parking, but the government completely ignored this in its desperation to force them on us.

But it isn’t just the cables. Street chargers, too, are gradually gobbling up pavement space. Walking is by far the most environmentally friendly way of getting about towns, yet it is being made a misery by all the things which are supposed to be helping the environment.

Pavements are being taken over by eco-louts on e-scooters. Cycle paths which used to be tranquil, with just the odd cyclist, are now hell-holes full of people on e-bikes, which typically travel at far higher speeds.

If councils want to create environmentally friendly cities the first thing they should be doing is to clear the pavements of detritus: ev charging cables, e-scooter docking stations, e bikes, and bus shelters, too, while they are at it. The rest of us get wet when we go for a walk in the rain, so why should bus passengers have these pavement-blocking facilities provided for them at public expense?

Every public authority now seems to talk about their “walking strategy”. They could start by clearing pavements of obstacles, even if it means electric car owners having to pay more to recharge them.

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