E-scooters need proper regulation
Rider licencing, insurance and manufacturing regulation call for in new safety report
A crackdown on private e-scooters is being recommended by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).
Their research finds that 15 riders have been killed on UK roads.
The independent body has collated records from the police, insurers and media for casualties involving e-scooters in 2021. It shows almost 900 casualties, with 20% involving injuries to pedestrians and cyclists.
The Department for Transport’s (DfT) figures show that there were 484 casualties involving e-scooters in 2020.
In a new report, The safety of private e-scooters in the UK, PACTS advises the DfT to adopt 14 safety regulations. These should cover e-scooter construction and use, including a maximum speed limit of 12.5mph and mandatory helmets. As motorised vehicles they are very different from pedal cycles, and need to be assessed and regulated accordingly.
David Davies, PACTS executive director, says e-scooters are “controversial”.
“Risks to riders and pedestrians are increasingly apparent. The Government should act now to curb dangerous and illegal use. Even if the Government decides on the way forward soon, legislation will not take effect until sometime next year. They should take this opportunity to gather evidence and consult widely”. This research, adds Davies, “should have happened before the rental trials started”.
PACTS states clearly that rental e-scooters and their use are different in a number of significant respects from private e-scooters and private use. Imposing the same sophisticated safety and management systems for private e-scooters would be very difficult.
A recent survey by law firm Keoghs, found that the public believe e-scooter riders should follow similar rules to other motorised vehicle users .
They found that two thirds of people support age restrictions and licencing for riders. E-scooters should also be banned from use on pavements and pedestrianised areas.
PACTS recommendations for the safe construction and use of private e-scooters
- Top speed of 12.5mph
- Maximum continuous rated motor power 250W
- Anti-tampering mechanisms included and power/speed de-restricting prohibited by law
- Minimum front wheel size of 12 inches (30.5cm) and minimum rear wheel size of 10 inches (25.5cm)
- Two independently controlled braking devices, one acting on the front wheel and one acting on the rearwheel
- Lighting to be mandatory at all times
- Maximum unladen weight of 20kg
- An audible warning device to be mandatory
- Helmet wearing to be mandatory
- Footway (pavement) or footpath use prohibited
- Rider age limit of at least 16 years
- No carrying passengers
- Drink driving, dangerous or careless riding, and handheld mobile phone use to be prohibited
- Rider training and third party insurance.