Head of Personal Injury, Andrew Atkinson, revisits the e-scooter phenomenon.
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They’re exceedingly popular as a quick and easy way to get around. But as local authorities are hailing them a huge environmental success, e-scooters continue to provoke controversy.
The government sees e-scooters as a key part of its emissions-cutting policy by getting people out of their cars on short trips in town and for commuting. Yet, as I have highlighted previously, using an e-scooter on the highway (which includes footpaths) and in other public spaces is illegal. The exception is if you’re participating in one of the increasing number of rental scheme trials.
Riding a scooter illegally could result in your scooter being confiscated and:
- a fixed penalty notice for no insurance with a £300 fine and six penalty points;
- a fixed penalty notice for no driving licence and up to £100 fine and three-six penalty points.
There are also numerous reports of e-scooter riders summoned for a diverse range of offences, including:
- riding on a footpath;
- using a mobile phone whilst riding;
- riding through a red light; and
- drink driving.
It’s perhaps understandable that the growing popularity of legal e-scooter schemes is a major factor in boosting sales of private e-scooters. Indeed, basic models are now readily available on the high street for under £300. Retailers printed warnings – usually along the lines of “Not to be used on public roads, cycle paths, pavements or public areas” – would be laughable if it wasn’t for the growing number of reports of e-scooter accidents. Tragically, the were 10 e-scooter fatalities last year, and hundreds more riders were seriously injured.
There are currently 31 e-scooter rental schemes in England. Earlier this year, there was considerable expectation of a further relaxation of the law concerning e-scooter usage, albeit subject to a raft of safety and other conditions. However, it’s now several months since the government last published an update on their proposals.
Watch this space!