The independent Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has been presented with a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in recognition of its innovative research into the safety of private e-scooters in the UK.
Authorised rental schemes, involving 23,000 e-scooters in 31 areas, have operated in England since July 2020. These trials were supposed to provide evidence for new legislation. However, more than two years on, no national information has been published and the government seems undecided on how to proceed. Even if it chooses to legalise e-scooters, it will take well into 2024 before regulations can take effect.
The overwhelming growth has been in private e-scooters. Over 1.3 million private e-scooters have been imported to the UK since 2019. While they can legally be sold, they are illegal to use on public roads and in public spaces. Thirty-one people have now died, fourteen so far in 2022.
By working with a team of project partners including the NHS, police, legal professionals, head injury charities and representatives from road safety organisations, PACTS has made recommendations for safety regulations. These cover the construction and use of private e-scooters and include a maximum speed limit of 12.5mph and mandatory helmets.
The research report, funded by The Road Safety Trust, shows that in vital respects e-scooters are different from pedal cycles and should be assessed and regulated based on their own attributes. It also includes commentary on the casualties injured in a collision involving an e-scooter during 2021: numbers of casualties, the nature and severity of their injuries and insights into regulations adopted elsewhere in Europe.
The PACTS report, The safety of private e-scooters in the UK, calls on the UK government to:
- take immediate action to address dangerous and illegal private e-scooter use;
- undertake a thorough public consultation before making any decision on the legalisation of e-scooters; and
- publish the information on the trials and undertake further research.
David Davies, PACTS Executive Director, said:
“The Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards are recognised as the gold standard, and PACTS is delighted to have been honoured with this prize in our 40th anniversary year.
“The use of e-scooters has exploded on UK streets in the past few years. Our research has filled a significant gap in knowledge about their safety.
“The government has stated that it intends to legalise private e-scooters for use on public roads in the UK. The PACTS recommendations for regulations should be the starting point on which safe legislation is built.”
The full report, The safety of private e-scooters in the UK is available here PACTS-The-safety-of-private-e-scooters-in-the-UK-Final-Report.pdf
(Picture – PACTS)