The rise of e-scooters
The rise of e-scooters
Cycling retailer Halfords has revealed sales of its e-mobility products have nearly tripled over the last year. The group has already said they grew by 184 per cent in the first half of the financial year, and is expecting a considerable number of e-scooters to be bought for Christmas as reported by ThisIsMoney.
Halfords has reported that it is training another 1,500 technicians to help service the growing trade in e-mobility devices and is further urging the UK government to legalise e-scooters on public roads. At the moment, only rental e-scooters are allowed to be used under a limited trial scheme that began in July. Privately owned scooters cannot be used legally on public roads including pavements and cycle paths at present and users doing so face having the e-scooter seized and the police can also impose fines and points to your driving licence.
Therefore if you are receiving or even gifting an e-scooter this festive period, remember that the recipient would only be able to use it on privately owned land with the permission of the landowner.
The risk of accidents on e-scooters
So what statistics do we have as to the number of accidents involving e-scooters? You do not have to search for long on the internet to come across many articles as to the incidence of accidents involving e-scooters such as this article by Quartz earlier this year looking at worldwide media reports of accidents. In France there has also been much media attention regarding accidents caused by e-scooter riders. Research from the US has also highlighted the growing incidence of e-scooter accidents where in one study, data has shown that the number of accidents increased from 4,583 in 2014 to 14,641 in 2018. These reports therefore highlight the need for carefully balanced regulation as to their usage.
Will we see public road usage permitted in the future?
On 14th December, the Department for Transport on behalf of the Government published a response to The House of Commons Transport Committee’s report titled “E-scooters: pavement nuisance or transport innovation?” Whilst emphasising that they would always adopt an evidence based approach following the trials, the Department’s response is generally a positive one which will be seen by many that the government do see a new legal framework for their use following the current trial scheme.
In the Government’s response, it is stressed that “an appropriate and effective regulatory framework for legal e-scooter use will of course be a priority and work is underway to understand, for example, the lessons to be learned from other countries and a variety of stakeholders.” The Government also said that the modal shift that e-scooters induce – particularly for replacing short car or taxi journeys will be a key metric of their success. In other areas considered, the government also stressed that prevention of the use of e-scooters on pavements was also a key priority and said this was a major cause of anxiety for pedestrians and vulnerable road users.
On the final page of the report, it is detailed that the Government agrees with the recommendation to publish its central evaluation framework for the rental trials in order to ensure full transparency and scrutiny of the policy development process. The Government also adds that the monitoring and evaluation contract has now been awarded and the final detail being finalised and would be published in due course.
Considering the latest developments, Hudgell Solicitors Corporate Services Solicitor John Cuss comments: “As sales and the popularity of e-scooters soars, the Government will become under growing pressure by the e-scooter industry to swiftly implement a new legislative framework for their legal use on public roads.”
“In the interim however and with Christmas shopping in its final stages, it is important that those both gifting and using e-scooters are aware of the current law as to their use.”
Using e-scooters on holiday
E-scooters are becoming extremely popular in many overseas cities and holiday resorts and whilst holidays abroad are currently very restricted, there is no doubt that once travelling gradually resumes, people are going to be keen to get away to the sunshine.
Anne Thomson, specialist in our Travel Litigation Department advises “we would urge anyone who considers hiring an e-scooter whilst on holiday abroad whether just for fun or to aid sight-seeing to take extra care as there has been a larger amount of accidents in Europe than here in the UK.”
“E-scooters can reach speeds in excess of 30mph so it is important that you should be mindful of some of the dangers.”
Here are some top tips from our Travel Litigation Department:
- Most importantly, ensure that you hire from a reputable company and that there is adequate insurance cover in place. In the event of an accident you need to be safe in the knowledge that there is adequate cover not only for yourself but for anyone that you may injure if the accident was your fault.
- Use the safety equipment required, such as a helmet.
- Follow all the instructions you are given.
- Take care when moving between traffic and pedestrians.
- Do not wear headphones.
- Do not drink and drive as if you are involved in an accident and are found to be inebriated, your insurance cover will be void.
How can Hudgell Solicitors help?
If you are involved in an accident sustaining injury as either the rider of an e-scooter or as a victim of one at home or abroad, then our experienced personal injury claim can conduct a no-obligation free initial assessment to see if they can assist you further with a claim for compensation.