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Published: 11th May 2022
Since the government introduced e-scooter trials across various cities in 2020, e-scooters have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation in the UK. Despite the uptake by many members of the public, there has been much debate on whether they are a safe mode of transport.
Therefore, in order to address the widely discussed safety concerns, e-scooter trials were implemented to collect evidence about the safety, benefits, public perceptions and wider impacts of e-scooters to inform any legislation which may be introduced after the trial period ends.
In the Queen’s speech which took place on 10th May, plans to legalise e-scooters were revealed, meaning that the UK may now be one step closer to seeing private e-scooters legalised on our roads.
In this article, we explore the current laws that apply to e-scooters, the government’s proposed plan to legalise e-scooters, the accident statistics and some of the prominent safety concerns.
Currently, there isn't a specific law in place for e-scooters. At present, they fall under the legal definition of a motor vehicle, therefore subject to the same laws and regulations.
It is legal to purchase and own an e-scooter in the UK. However, under UK law, private use of e-scooters on public roads remains illegal. At present, private e-scooters can only be used on private land and it is an offence to ride them in public – including on footpaths, pavements and roads.
However, the government is currently running e-scooter trials across various cities in the UK, meaning that rented e-scooters can be used on public roads in cities that are taking part in the trial.
E-scooters in the government trials are limited to 15.5mph and require users to be over the age of 18 and have a provisional or full UK driving license.
Riders caught using a e-scooter illegally could be issued with a fixed penalty notice and/or penalty points on their license.
The government recently revealed their intentions to legalise private e-scooters on UK roads. E-scooters are expected to be legalised later this year, though it is yet to be officially confirmed the exact date that this will come into effect.
The government intends to set out strict safety conditions by putting in place regulations for e-scooters potentially including maximum speed limits, lighting requirements and making helmets mandatory, meaning that all e-scooters for sale will all adhere to the same safety requirements.
Following this recent announcement, a government spokesperson confirmed that “safety will always be our top priority” and that the ongoing trials are helping the government to gather the necessary data to make decisions and to inform e-scooter laws and regulation.
Further to this, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hopes that the introduction of e-scooter laws will enable the government to “crack down on the illegal use of e-scooters” by ensuring that e-scooters meet certain safety standards.
In 2021, 713 e-scooter related accidents were attended by NHS ambulance vehicles, a significant increase from the previous year’s figure of 392.
In the year ending June 2021, 931 accidents and casualties involving e-scooters were reported by the government. 3 of those accidents were reported as fatal, 199 reported as seriously injured and 530 slightly injured.
Aside from injured e-scooter riders, pedestrians were most likely to be injured in accidents involving e-scooters with 37 pedestrians seriously injured and 94 slightly injured in the same period.
These worrying statistics show that there is a lot to be done to reduce the number of e-scooter accidents on our roads. Through implementing e-scooter laws and regulations aswell as educating the public on the dangers of e-scooters, hopefully more accidents can be prevented and injury numbers may start to decrease as a result of stricter safety measures.
As a firm of specialist serious personal injury lawyers, we are very much aware of the importance of road safety and the devastation that can be caused by accidents on the roads. We therefore understand and recognise the safety concerns associated with e-scooters, along with the number of serious injuries and casualties that have been reported over the last few years from e-scooter accidents.
We believe that before legalising e-scooters, significant efforts should be made to raise awareness of the dangers aswell as the measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of an injury, such as wearing a helmet.
We believe that the introduction of e-scooter laws and regulations will play a vital role in combatting dangerous and illegal use of e-scooters as well as helping to reduce the number of preventable accidents.
Of course, e-scooters have their benefits such as being a sustainable and attractive alternative method of transport in comparison to traditional cars. However, our view is that it is essential that a well thought out legislative framework is planned and implemented with a safety first approach.
As always, we wish everyone safe travels; however, if you or any of your family or friends are involved in an accident on the roads and require legal assistance from a Top Tier Legal 500 rated law firm, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We can be contacted on 0330 058 0377 for a free, confidential conversation with a qualified, serious injury solicitor. Alternatively, please send us your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org, and one of our team will be in touch. All enquiries are free and confidential.