As part of a new Transport Bill that could come into effect in 2023, the UK government intends to create a new category of ‘low-speed, zero-emission’ vehicles that will include e-scooters and most likely legalise their private use on public roads. While the government hopes that riders, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users have become increasingly familiar with the vehicles since rental trials began in 2020, the use of private e-scooters on public roads is controversial due to safety concerns over technical regulations and confusion over which areas they are allowed to access.
The benefits of e-scooters in official eyes include their positive environmental impact, especially reducing the number of cars and pollution in congested urban areas. The vehicles are also seen as an affordable and efficient method of transport, including for commuters and businesses delivering orders in towns and cities. E-scooter trials in operation across the UK are set to be extended until 2024, and the government hopes that sufficient information on the vehicles’ use will be gathered to ensure that technical regulations and safety standards are effective in the future.
The problems caused by e-scooters on pavements and in cycle lanes and pedestrianised areas like shopping centres will almost certainly get significantly worse once private scooters are legalised on UK roads. Many private e-scooters can comfortably exceed the current 15.5mph speed limit, and a combination of confusion as to where the vehicles can be used, and irresponsible and inexperienced e-scooter riders will continue to pose a risk to pedestrians, cyclists and other road users for the foreseeable future. Legalisation will at least have the benefit of regulating the use of e-scooters and making insurance mandatory to guarantee compensation for those injured in collisions with the vehicles.
If you have been injured in an accident involving an e-scooter, contact our firm for expert legal advice from solicitors who are themselves cyclists with experience of e-scooter accidents claims: