The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety has written a letter to Future of Transport Minister Trudy Harrison asking her to issue statements to retailers, the public and the police over the legality of private e-scooters.
Although trial rental schemes enable people to use regulated e-scooters legally in around 32 towns and cities in England, private e-scooters remain illegal to use on roads and in public places.
Last month PACTS wrote to MPs warning there is a “world of safety difference” between e-scooter rental schemes and the use of private e-scooters.
In the latest letter, PACTS points out that in the run-up to Christmas, where people may consider an e-scooter as a present, greater clarity is needed to avoid putting the public or the police in “impossible situations”.
“As Christmas approaches, some people will be considering buying an e-scooter for themselves or their loved ones,” the letter from David G Davies, Executive Director of PACTS reads. “They may not be aware that use of private e-scooters is almost entirely illegal in the UK, or they may have the impression that the law will not be enforced. In light of the deaths and serious head injuries that have arisen, the hazards to pedestrians, the enforcement problem for the police and the risks to scooter riders, I am writing to you to take swift action.”
The letter calls for the issuing of a clear warning to retailers that they could be held liable if they fail to clearly warn customers of the risks and illegality involved in the use of private e-scooters,
clear information to the public that it is illegal to use a private e-scooter on public roads
and in almost all public places in the UK, and that they could incur substantial fines and penalties
if caught, suggesting The Department for Transport’s THINK! campaign team would be well placed to do this, and for a statement of encouragement and support to the police to take enforcement action.
The letter continues, “Information from the Bicycle Association suggests that over 350,000 e scooters had been sold by the end of October 2021, almost as many as were sold in the whole of 2020. We are aware of at least nine deaths on e-scooters to date this year, all on privately owned vehicles.
“We have had useful discussions with your officials and we will endeavour to work constructively with them if the government seeks to legalise use of private e-scooters. However, for now they remain illegal to use and are creating substantial problems.
“I therefore urge you to take this action.”
Read the full letter here.
(Picture – Metropolitan Police)