Kent County Council decides not to continue with trial of e-scooters after accident

Councillors in Kent have turned down the chance to continue e-scooter trials, following a serious injury.

E-scooters are expected to be banned on Kent roads by December 1st this year. This is after a 80-year old lady suffered a crack jaw when she was knocked to the floor by a e-scooter rider.

The e-scooter trial, launched in Canterbury, Kent, in November 2020 for an initial year has twice been extended despite public safety fears.

Kent County Council have now rejected an offer from the Department for Transport to continue the trial until May 2024 – almost two years longer than its current end date of November 30 this year. 

From December 1 there will be no legally ridden e-scooters on Kent’s streets, as they are only permitted on public highways as part of government-approved trials, according to a Daily Mail Online story.

Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, David Brazier said: “As we were nearing the end of the trial, I decided to truncate it before someone was seriously hurt,’ he said. “Recently an elderly lady was quite seriously injured by one being ridden on a pedestrian area which was not allowed,’ he added in reference to Ms Carter’s accident.

Renting an e-scooter is the only way to legally ride the vehicle on some public roads or in other public place at the moment.

But the controversial vehicles could be approved for use across the UK following a trial period. Currently, 10 London boroughs are taking part in the scheme with three providers to test how e-scooters work on the capital’s roads.

Riding e-scooters on the pavement however is banned, and riders must be 18 or over and have a full or provisional driving licence to rent one.

It is also illegal to use privately owned e-scooters or other powered transporters on public roads.

Cllr Brazier revealed that he ‘tended to favour’ the trial proceeding but highlighted that ‘it was quite obvious now accidents could have been worse than they were’. 

“You cannot legislate against people who will agree to use something in a certain way and then suit themselves,” he said at a cross-party committee meeting, says the Mail Online report.

In 2021 there were 1,280 collisions involving e-scooters across the UK, according to The Department for Transport. These incidents caused 1,359 casualties and nine deaths.

A spokesperson for Kent County Council said: “In recent months, Bird, working to deliver this trial for Kent County Council, has introduced enhanced safety measures including a reduction of the electric scooter speeds from 15mph to 12mph.

“Kent County Council has decided to gradually reduce the number of vehicles in the trial, as well as the areas in which they operate, ahead of the trial finishing in Kent at the end of November.”

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