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Published On: August 31, 2021 | Blog | 0 comments

E-Scooters: The Continuing Concerns

You may recently have read my colleague’s blog on e-scooters and what happens when an e-scooter rider is either the victim or the cause of an accident.  This is an issue that is not likely to go away any time soon.

Asad has explained that it is illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter on public roads (and pavements).  We usually just think of them as an urban method of transport but I live in a village in Kent where they are also to be seen.  The country roads are dangerous for cars let alone e-scooter users but use them they do.  When picking up my son from school I met a dad who was also picking up his son on his e-scooter.  We had a chat about how convenient it was for him to nip from home instead of having to take the car such a short distance.  I left first so I did not see if his son was riding pillion.  But as the dad said, with a top speed of 18mph what could possibly go wrong?

I had recently watched the ITV documentary “E-scooters: Britains’s New Road Rage?” shown 21 May 2021 (if you missed it, it can viewed here).  This was a bit of an eye opener for me.  I was aware of the trials that had been taken place in various cities, what I did not realise was these trials will also serve as further data for whether the government will chose to legalise private e-scooters on public highways, a decision due to be made in October 2022.

Since Asad’s blog was published, there have been two more serious incidents involving e-scooters, there may be more but these ones have made it into the mainstream press.  A 3 year old girl sustained what is termed “life changing injuries” at the hands of an e-scooter user on 19 July.  This accident happened in a park in Lambeth, London.  The young man apologised at the time but no details were taken.  It has been widely covered in the media and many reports repeat that it is illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter in public.  However, Lambeth is part of the trials for legal hiring schemes.  This could have been a legally hired trial e-scooter.  It serves to highlight that the problem is not limited to privately owned e-scooters, but to all.

For those using the trial e-scooters, there is no requirement to take a test or demonstrate capability above needing to hold a full or provisional driving licence.  The full requirements can be found here.  So this e-scooter may have insurance, but how do you trace it?  There is no requirement to exhibit a registration plate so how do you identify an offending e-scooter?  Unless the young man responds to the police appeals to come forward, he is very unlikely to be traced.

The second incident happened in Plympton, Devon on 23 July.  This time is was the e-scooter rider who suffered a serious head injury having come off his e-scooter.  It was a privately owned scooter being ridden on a public road.  It is unclear if he was wearing a helmet.  There is no legal requirement to do so.  The amount of blood on the road in pictures released by the police suggests he was not.  I have not linked to the reports as they do not make for pleasant viewing.

It’s clear that e-scooters, whether private or not, pose a danger to both the user and public at large.  Equating their use as similar to a bicycle is seriously underestimating the damage they can cause.  Of course cyclists can pose the same risk but ultimately these are powered vehicles – training should be given, a competency test should be taken, each vehicle should be easily identified and the user/public should be availed of all appropriate safety mechanisms.  I recognise that the vast majority of users are safe and responsible, but if one needs to pass a theory test to fly a drone, surely the standard for being in control of a powered vehicle on the ground should not be less?

*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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