Organisations call on PM to set date for e-scooter legislation


More than 50 organisations have signed a letter to the Prime Minister urgently calling on the government to legalise e-scooters.

The signatories have warned that the UK is at risk of falling behind the rest of Europe. Rental e-scooters are currently only available through government trials in around 23 towns and cities around England – it is illegal to use private e-scooters on public roads.

The popularity of rental e-scooters has gone from strength to strength with 2.3 million riders in the UK who have made well over 34 million journeys. However, the use of e-scooters remains controversial.

According to UK government data there were 1,352 collisions involving (legal and illegal) e-scooters in 2021, compared to 460 in 2020. And off all collisions involving e-scooters, 324 included only one e-scooter with no other vehicles involved in the collision (single-vehicle collision), compared to 83 in 2020.

Nevertheless the UK is the only developed nation without either permanently legal e-scooters or committed plans to legalise.

Now Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK), which brings together public, private and third sector organisations to support shared transport, has sent a letter on behalf of more than 50 organisations to Rishi Sunak calling on him to press ahead with legislation to create a new powered light vehicle class that would make e-scooters legal.

Signatories include the Campaign for Better Transport, Clean Cities Campaign, London Cycling Campaign, Major Trauma Group, Northamptonshire Police, Pure Electric, Southampton Sight, Sustrans, Thomas Pocklington Trust, Transport Action Network, Urban Transport Group and Women in Transport.

The letter states:

“Currently e-scooter trials are due to end after May 2024. These trials are ingrained into local transport systems enabling thousands of people to get to work, higher education and to run errands.

“Yet there is no certainty of these trials beyond spring next year nor the ability of additional towns or cities to introduce these services.

“This lack of certainty combined with the fact an estimated 750,000 privately owned and unregulated e-scooters are on UK roads underscores the importance of e-scooter legislation being included in this year’s King’s Speech.

“Another extension to shared e-scooters does not address private e-scooters. These private vehicles are unlikely to undergo regular maintenance by trained professionals or have government-mandated safety features.

“Private e-scooters can cause concern for road users particularly disabled people in addition to potentially being unsafe for riders, however, this is where legislation and regulation can make a positive difference.”

An independent poll found recently that over 80 per cent of the general public are supportive of new regulatory measures for e-scooters – and over 70 per cent want them introduced before the next General Election, which is most likely to be held next year.

Chris Price
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