16 November 2022
E-Scooters: What are they?
E-Scooters are the new up and coming ‘infatuation’ of motor vehicles. It is reported that there are approximately over a million e-scooters on the UK roads, however the vast majority are being driven illegally. Unfortunately as a result of this, the true data obtained in regards to e-scooter accidents is unlikely to be the full extent of what actually occur.
Government E-Scooter Trials
Within July 2019, the Department of Transport published a report, ‘Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy’. One of the areas of focus of this was to study alternative innovative and sustainable ways of travel, a key area being ‘micromoblility’ means of transport, i.e. E-Scooters.
The Government established a scheme to trial e-scooters in 2020 to promote the idea of ‘green’ travel. In total, 31 regions across England took part and originally it was meant to finish in 2021, however the date was extended to November 2022. The scheme currently only applies to rental scooters, and the following rules apply:
- The riders must be over the age of 18
- The must hold a full valid driver’s licenses or provisional license if they permit those licenses to ride category Q vehicles
- Requirements to hold sufficient motor vehicle insurance
- Maximum speed limit of 15.5mph in the majority of areas
According to current news, the trial deadline has yet again been extended in certain regions until May 2024 in order to allow the government to obtain further evidence.
This scheme allows the inclusion of e-scooters on roads and cycle lanes, however not motorways. The unfamiliarity of e-scooters can be alarming to some individuals who are apprehensive when seeing them on the roads or paths. Therefore, their main goal is to assess the safety and wider impacts of e-scooters by gradually inserting them into the environment to evaluate how to best develop e-scooters for safe and effective use in the future.
Are they legal?
There has been a substantial rise in the use of e-scooters in recent years, however there seems to be a lack of understanding on how they are properly governed within the United Kingdom.
- E-Scooters are not illegal to buy or sell;
- E-Scooters are illegal to use in public places, unless it is part of the Government scheme;
- Only e-scooters operated, registered and insurance by authorised rental firms can legally be used on public roads;
- It is illegal to use a privately owned e-scooter on public roads, on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian only areas;
- You are legally allowed to use an e-scooter on private land, with the landowner’s permission.
If you are found to be riding an e-scooter by a police officer you could face a fine of £1000, and potentially end up with points on your license.The Dangers of E-ScootersThere is also the contrasting opinion that the launch of these trials on UK streets has contributed to the surge in use and purchase of e-scooters, and evidentially an increase in the number of accidents. In 2021 alone, 1,352 collisions on the road involving e –scooters were reported compared to 460 in 2020. A significant increase over a short space of time.
Evidence gathered in 2021 suggests that of the e-scooter casualties reported in 2021, the age group with the most staggering figure of casualties was between 10 and 19. The legal age to drive a motor vehicle in the UK is 17, however there does seem to be an alarming increase of the interest of e-scooters with the younger audience. With the ability to purchase one easily online, there is no real surprise. The fact that they are flocking the majority of streets for all to see is certainly having an additional effect on their popularity. However, like all motor vehicles they can pose a serious risk, and it is crucial that these are considered by the Department of Transport.
The lack of awareness around the dangers of e-scooters is highly detrimental to the safety all road users in general. It is important to consider that individuals who do not even use e-scooters can be the victim of an injury due to the city streets being the home to the numerous rental bikes.
A reoccurring observation from the report carried out by Kantar is the importance of promoting the safety of e-scooter users. It was recorded that off all the respondent interviewed, 88% of them believed a helmet should be required, this data being supported largely in both rural and urban areas. E-scooters that can be purchased online often do not comply with the legal regulations, and are able to reach the speeds of 50mph. A frightening comparison to the maximum speed of rental e-scooters.
Future of E-Scooters
It is clear that further investigation and understanding on the use of e-scooters is required in order to make sure that all safeguarding measures have been evaluated. There is no doubt that they will continue to catch the public’s eye, and make up a key part of development of innovative travel. However, without the proper governance of both rental e-scooters as wellas private ones, there is likely to be a continuous problem and a growth in the number of accidents.
It may be of your belief that due to the lack of legislation in place for e-scooters that if you are involved in an accident with one, you may not be able to claim compensation. This is not the case. If you are not at fault, and have suffered injuries as a result, then it is important that you seek legal advice to see whether there is something that can be done to assist you.
Please do not hesitate to call our Personal Injury Team at Redkite Solicitors who will be more than happy to assist you with assessing your claim. Please call 01267 239000 or email us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.