A man who was injured after a bus knocked him off an e-scooter he was riding illegally is seeking an insurance pay-out.

This case could prove to be a landmark legal case. If riding an illegal vehicle on a public road, can you still make an insurance claim against another party?


The man in his fifties was riding a privately owned e-scooter on a public road in London last summer. A bus went to overtake him and allegedly struck him with its wing mirror.

It resulted in the man being placed into an induced coma. His injuries included multiple fractured ribs, a dislocated right shoulder and a collapsed lung. He then also developed pneumonia when in hospital.

Rights and wrongs

Although the man took the precautions of wearing a helmet and a high-visibility jacket, it’s currently illegal in the UK to ride a privately owned e-scooter on public land, including roads and pavements. Only scooters that are part of government authorised rental schemes can be used on public roads and cycle lanes.

With there being no legal provision for privately owned e-scooters being used on public roads, this is a test case. It could set legal precedent for similar claims arising in future. The rider’s legal team is seeking tens of thousands of pounds in compensation from the bus operator’s insurance company.

Ben Pepper, an associate solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp (BBK), told The Times: “My client took sensible precautions and was riding his e-scooter safely when a bus driver knocked him down, causing very serious injury.

“If he had been riding a bicycle instead, it is likely that he would have suffered similar injuries. Why should his claim for compensation be any less valid than a cyclist’s claim?”

Growing injury list

Official figures show 460 accidents recorded involving e-scooters in 2020, and 484 people were injured. Of these, 384 were riding the high-tech devices. During the same period, one person was killed while riding an e-scooter with a further 128 being seriously injured.

According to a report by the by the Department of Transport: “E-scooters are one of the vulnerable user groups. They are not protected by a vehicle body in the same way car users are, and tend to be harder for drivers to see on the road. They are, therefore, particularly susceptible to injuries.”

Sixty per cent of those injured in e-scooter incidents were in the Metropolitan Police area with 291 casualties. A further five people suffered injuries in the City of London police area.

In further statistics held by the Department of Transport, 57 pedestrians were injured after being struck by e-scooters during 2020. Alongside these, 22 vehicle passengers and 21 cyclists were injured in incidents involving e-scooters.

Of all the casualties during 2020, 13 of those suffered ‘serious’ injuries.

Police powers

Anyone illegally using an e-scooter faces a potential £300 fixed penalty notice for not having insurance as well as six penalty points on their driving licence.

Police officers also have the power to seize illegal e-scooters.