There are growing concerns that UK law is failing to keep up with the increasingly popular use of e-scooters on our roads, with fears that their current usage poses a risk to the safety of motorists, pedestrians and e-scooter riders.
With technology advancing, these types of electrical vehicles are becoming more accessible, and many people are using them as their preferred mode of transport. UK law currently states that e-scooters can only be used on private land, and riding them on roads, cycle lanes and pavements can result in a £300 fine, although there are grey areas around these laws.
E-scooters can easily be purchased in the UK, but retailers have been caught encouraging customers to ride them illegally, recommending that they exploit this grey area in the law. In the past, e-scooter riders have been tried and prosecuted using the same laws as motorists when they have been driving irresponsibly, with riders being penalised for not wearing a helmet and being an ‘uninsured driver’.
Other countries in Europe have also been affected by e-scooters, either embracing them or cracking down on the laws surrounding these vehicles. Copenhagen and Paris are trailing schemes which enable people to rent e-scooters in the same way you can hire rental bikes, although Paris has also introduced fines and penalties for when they are used on the pavement and are parked obstructively.
Laws around e-scooters are currently being reviewed as incidents and accidents around these vehicles increase and people speak up about how they are affecting road safety. Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns for the road safety charity Brake stated: “The clear lack of public awareness of the rules regarding e-scooter use must be addressed as a priority. With the increasing popularity of e-scooters comes an increasing risk of tragic incidents taking place and so the Government must act now to make clear that these devices are illegal to use on any public road, pavement or cycle path.”
Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, added: “The RoSPA is calling upon the government to look at current laws and to put in place a regulatory framework which will protect all road users in preparation for the eventuality when their use is permitted”.