The Dangers Of E-Scooters
E-Scooters – Environmentally Friendly Mode Of Transport Or Recipe For Disaster?
You will no doubt have noticed a significant increase in the use of electric scooters, more commonly known as e-scooters, in recent years. A concept initially concocted as a more environmentally friendly way to get around, it is evident that more and more people are using them for fun and many who do use them for legitimate transport purposes seem to do so with little concern for their safety. Of the many people I have seen using these e-scooters, it is very rare that I see someone wearing a helmet, but very common to see them riding recklessly and at a fairly high speed.
The introduction of e-scooters has, as one might expect, brought with it an added element of danger to the roads and a significant number of accidents, many of which are very serious collisions and some of which have even resulted in deaths. According to the Department for Transport, there were 882 accidents involving e-scooters in the year to June 2021 which resulted in 931 reported casualties; three of whom, all e-scooter riders, were killed. In addition, the Department for Transport estimates that 253 people involved in these accidents suffered serious injuries.
When Transport for London introduced its e-scooter trial, with approval from the Department of Transport, it was limited at that time to only a handful of boroughs in London. E-scooters can only be ridden on roads, not on pavements and are limited to a maximum speed of 12.5mph. Whilst this might not seem like a high speed at all, in reality, for those of us who have been whizzed past by one of these e-scooters, you will know that this is a sufficiently high speed to cause serious injury to a pedestrian, the e-scooter rider, cyclists and many other road users.
Serious Injury Risks
To this end, I have dealt with many claims for clients who have been badly injured in what at first appear to be relatively low-speed collisions, but which have caused much more serious injuries than might be expected. There can be many reasons for this, but in the case of a brain injury, being knocked off an e-scooter travelling at 12.5mph and being thrown to the floor, striking your head on the hard ground or on a car for example, particularly if not wearing a helmet, will very likely cause a traumatic brain injury.
By the same token, a pedestrian struck by an e-scooter travelling at its top speed of 12.5mph will also face a very significant risk of suffering serious injury. In fact, research carried out by the Department for Transport confirms that, of the 253 people who were seriously injured in e-scooter accidents in the year to 2021, except for the estimated 199 e-scooter users themselves and only two motorcyclists, all other injured parties involved in these accidents were either pedestrians (estimated at 37) or cyclists (estimated at 14).
Another Threat On Our Streets
These very worrying statistics reinforce the fact that, whilst introduced with the best of intentions, e-scooters have in fact introduced yet another threat to the streets of London and something else that all road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists (already the most vulnerable road users) must now be aware of. It cannot go unnoticed that there is also a large faction of people who see e-scooters as a fun way to get around, as opposed to a necessity, and who use them with reckless abandon and little concern for other road users. I have also witnessed people riding e-scooters on pavements, through parks and in many other areas where they are not permitted. This would appear to be supported by further research conducted by the Department of Transport which has determined that by far the largest demographic of e-scooter user casualties over the year to June 2021 are aged between 10 and 19 (207 male and 50 female). Given that riders are meant to be at least 18 years of age to use an e-scooter, this statistic is particularly worrying and suggests that the legal use of e-scooters is not being very well regulated.
With helmets not being provided with each e-scooter and the logistics of doing so no doubt insurmountable, just as is the case with “Boris bikes”, they can be easily used without helmets if the rider either does not have their own or chooses to use the e-scooter without one.
Here To Stay?
The initial trial period for e-scooters, which is being run by TFL, is due to come to an end next month and a decision will then be made as to whether to continue with or discontinue the scheme. No doubt the Department of Transport’s research on accidents involving e-scooters which will be updated to the year ending June 2021 will be taken into consideration when making this decision, but as with any new scheme, there have undoubtedly been some major teething problems and the high number of accidents and serious injuries suffered in these accidents must be a cause for major concern.* 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.*