Over half of people don’t know UK’s e-scooter law, claims study

News, Transport

According to a survey of more than 1,000 people carried out by JMW Solicitors, 52% of respondents do not know the laws around e-scooters. 

More than a quarter (29%) think that a privately-owned e-scooter can be used in public and 16% think e-scooters can be used on the pavement, despite both scenarios being banned by the Department for Transport.

Last month, police in London seized a total of 507 illegal e-scooters in just one week. It is illegal for private e-scooters to be ridden on roads or public places and can only be used on private land unless part of a government trial.

Illegal e-scooter seizures are on the rise across the country as police crackdown on powered transporters. On the 19th July 2021, the Greater Manchester Police seized 165 scooters in the city centre, including one from a 13-year-old boy who narrowly escaped a collision with a car due to his reckless driving.

Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent, Simon Ovens, said: “Riders using e-scooters on the road risk fines, points on their licence, and e-scooter seizures if they continue to use them on public road networks.”

Richard Powell, Head of Personal Injury at JMW Solicitors, said: “Up until 1st August 2020, riding e-scooters was illegal on UK roads, unless being used on private land with the landowner’s permission. However, the increasing popularity of this mode of transport meant that rental e-scooters became legal in a bid to ease pressure on public transport amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The rising popularity of e-scooters as a mode of transport for tech-savvy riders who want to get from A to B more efficiently comes with a unique set of problems from a safety perspective. In 2019, YouTuber Emily Hartridge was killed in an e-scooter collision after losing control due to an under-inflated tyre, an incident that highlighted just how dangerous e-scooters can be.”

Richard said: “While the Department for Transport has published guidance for e-scooter hire companies, which included a speed limit of 15.5mph, there is not enough awareness being raised among riders.”

The survey results also revealed that respondents believe that riders should receive the same safety advice as cyclists (93%), with e-scooter users having to wear a helmet (88%) and high-visibility clothing (74%).

E-Scooter safety tips 

Wear a helmet
Wearing a helmet will protect against a variety of head injuries and help to prevent injuries caused by e-scooter collisions. Riders should keep a helmet with them, either clipped to a backpack or in the office, for everyday use.

Don’t drink and ride
Many e-scooter accidents take place because the rider is under the influence of alcohol, which puts those involved at risk of injury or death. There is never a justification for using an e-scooter when drunk, and riders should always take alternative transport to avoid injury.

One person per scooter
Another leading cause of e-scooter accidents is tandem riders. There simply is not enough room on standard e-scooters for more than one rider, and any additional weight is likely to cause accidents.

Conduct safety checks
Before hiring an e-scooter, riders should always conduct safety checks to ensure the contraption is not defective. Conduct a visual inspection by looking for any signs of damage or unusual wear. The wheels should feel sturdy and batteries sufficiently powered. Before setting off to your destination, test the brakes and throttle to ensure you will not run into any trouble.

Beginners – take a test ride
Riding a scooter during your childhood does not mean you will automatically be able to steer an e-scooter. This mode of transport can be more difficult to manage because of its small wheels, which means practising before embarking on your journey is a must for novice riders.

Chris Price
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