Recent figures from the Department for Transport show that 100 road users and pedestrians were injured in collisions with e-scooter riders during 2020, while 383 riders were also injured in accidents. Given the surging popularity of both rental and privately-owned e-scooters, the equivalent figures for 2021 are likely to be substantially higher, as safety concerns regarding the use of e-scooters in public areas continue to grow.
The figures reveal that 21 cyclists, 22 people in vehicles and 57 pedestrians were injured in accidents involving e-scooters last year, with 13 pedestrians seriously injured. This shows that all road users are at risk from e-scooter riders, with the charity Guide Dogs reporting visually impaired people are having to either change their usual routes or stop travelling independently altogether due to the perceived danger from e-scooters and their riders.
While e-scooters are not allowed to be ridden on pavements (and only rental e-scooters can be used on roads), they are unfortunately becoming a common sight across the UK. The vehicles are supposed to be limited to a top speed of 15.5mph, but many privately-owned e-scooters can travel much faster. The popularity of e-scooters reflects their convenience as a means of transport in urban areas, especially among young people, some of whom ride them irresponsibly and without wearing helmets.
E-scooter riders are themselves extremely vulnerable if they lose control of their vehicle and are involved in an accident, but they also pose a serious risk to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. With reports indicating that the government is likely to legalise the personal use of e-scooters in public areas in the next 12 months, an increasing number of e-scooter accidents are likely to be recorded across the UK in the future.