Clampdown on illegal e-scooters

Campaigners are calling for a ban on illegally ridden e-scooters after data revealed more than half of all casualties on the two-wheeled vehicles were caused in incidents where they were used illicitly.

Figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) last month have found that in the year leading up to June 2023, 556 of the 1,080 casualties caused by e-scooter collisions were caused by scooters used outside designated trial areas.

The data showed that there were 524 collisions within the trial zone, including 68 private scooter crashes, and 337 incidents in which the vehicle type was unknown, The Telegraph reported.

Road safety campaigners have now called on the Government to 'urgently' bring forward legislation to crackdown on 'wild west misuse' of the vehicles by strengthening device standards, limiting speed, and improving user safety.

Others have called for an 'outright ban' of the devices, with some Londoners arguing that 'police need to take more action to stop these riders'.

It is currently legal to hire and ride a rental e-scooter in the UK, but illegal to ride a privately bought e-scooter in any public place, including in the scooter trial zones.

However, scooter bans are rarely enforced and it is believed that an estimated 750,000 private scooters are in use across the country. 

From June 2022 until June this year, there were 1,080 e-scooter casualties reported across Great Britain, 233 of which occurred in London.

Research by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has found that in the 12 months leading up to June 2023, there were seven fatalities involving e-scooters. The safety group alleges that six of the fatalities involved an illegal private scooter.

PACTS has also reported that 1,077 of the 1,355 e-scooter-related casualties recorded last year resulted in injuries to e-scooter users. 

The safety charity has also alleged that e-scooter related deaths have been on the rise since 2019 and 'most are related to the illegal use of them'.

PACTS has now recommended that the Government bring in a number of regulations if private scooters are to be made legal. These include speed limits of 12.5mph, a 16-year-old rider age limit and mandatory audible devices.

Similarly, Nicholas Lyes, I AM Road Smart director of policy and standards, has raised concern about the devices, branding the e-scooter situation in the UK as the 'wild west'.

She alleged the devices are being misused on roads and pavements and believes lawmakers need to take action. 

She told The Telegraph: 'The government needs to urgently bring forward legislation on private e-scooters which must include minimum type approval device standards, speed limiters and proposals for riders to have a minimum level of competency prior to using these devices on the road.'

However the DfT alleges that safety remains its 'top priority' and officials are taking the e-scooter matter seriously.

A DfT spokesperson told MailOnline: 'It remains illegal to ride private e-scooters on roads, cycle lanes or pavements, and those in breach can face an unlimited fine and disqualification from using them.

'Safety is our top priority and we have extended the e-scooter trials taking place to gather further evidence. We also intend to consult in due course on possible regulations for e-scooter use in the future, including minimum rider ages and maximum speeds.'