E-scooters are becoming a social norm with many people using them daily and increasingly we're seeing them available to rent in cities to get around.
Despite e-scooters being branded as a greener and more cost-effective way of transport, concerns remain around their safety, and in particular the public's knowledge of the law around e-scooters and how they can be lawfully used.
Parliament has not kept pace with the increased usage across the country. Although there is legislation working its way through Parliament, a final Act of Parliament appears some way off. At present, the most relevant legislation is the Road Traffic Act 1988.
New calls for e-scooter safety knowledge
In addition to any safety concerns around the scooters themselves, local officials including a councillor are now raising their concerns regarding the use of e-scooters on pavements which they claim are putting pedestrians at risk.
The Yorkshire Post has reported how Lib Dem East Riding Councillor, Viv Padden raised concerns at a council meeting after his wife had a near miss with someone using an e-scooter. He has since been in contact with members of the public who have been injured in collisions with e-scooters, including a woman in Hull who suffered three fractures to her head when an e-scooter ran into her when she was cycling to work in August.
Accidents on UK roads involving e-scooters
Safer Roads Humber don't gather specific statistics on accidents involving e-scooters, but group them with incidents involving mobility scooters and skateboards. It's been recorded in East Yorkshire that around 25 people a year are injured.
However, the Government’s latest data on collisions in 2021 has revealed that people injured involving accidents with e-scooters has risen 194 per cent since 2020 in the UK.
Despite the evidence of e-scooters causing injury, it's understood that some police forces have been taking the approach of educating those using them. Humberside Police has confirmed that it will “deal with those robustly that ride dangerously or through their actions, put others at risk.”
Call for legislation governing e-scooters
Legislation governing e-scooters has not yet been implemented. Ruth Gore of Safer Road Humber has explained that she believes this is due to the rapid turnover in Government ministers, and now believes it could take another couple of years before any legislation is considered or passed.
There is an urgent need for the Government to establish legislation governing the use of e-scooters, to ensure their safety on our roads. Not only do they currently pose a safety risk to all road users, but they also leave those involved in accidents with them, and injured, no recourse to compensation. Charities representing the interests of visually impaired people have expressed serious concerns.
How to stay safe and current e-scooter laws
It’s important to remember that if you're purchasing an e-scooter privately, you can only lawfully use it on private land and not on the UK public roads. If you're riding an e-scooter on a UK road as a rented device, such as those seen throughout cities in the UK, it’s important to remember to remain safe when using them and check the local guidance including whether there are speed limits in place and zoned off areas for them to be used.
It’s also important to remember to wear a helmet and stay away from busy roads. There are licence and age restrictions, too.
We have previously written about the increasing problem of entities “modifying” e-scooters to increase their speed limit.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people following e-scooter collisions at our dedicated e-scooters section.