Provisional road casualty statistics for 2021 show a huge increase in incidents involving e-scooters on Britain’s roads.

Overall deaths and injuries were also up following the lockdown lows. The peaks in incidents coincide with summer staycations.

Up and down

The new figures, from the Department of Transport (DfT), show overall fatalities on roads in Great Britain reveals 1,560 losing their lives last year. This represents a 7% increase compared to 2020. However, this a reduction of 12% from the 2017 to 2019 average (pre-lockdowns).

The provisional figures also show 27,300 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in 2021. This is a reduction of 13% from the 2017 to 2019 average. Meanwhile, there are an estimated 127,967 casualties of all severities in 2021. This is a reduction of 21% from the 2017 to 2019 average.

A reduction in pedal cyclist fatalities by 20% is another positive.

The number of people suffering any form of injury increased. DfT report an 11% rise, year-on-year, with monthly changes in casualties showing a similar trend to changes in motor traffic levels.

While traffic levels are rising post lockdown, it is believed the current fuel price and cost of living crisis will show a drop in road traffic going forward.

Taking positives

Jack Cousens,  head of roads policy for the AA, says: “The one glimmer of hope is that the total number of casualties last year remains lower than pre-pandemic levels, so we need that to be the turning point in order to make our roads as safe as possible.”

The estimated 1,560 reported road deaths in 2021, was a reduction of 12% from the 2017 to 2019 average.

The number of people suffering any form of injury also increased, with DfT reporting an 11% rise, year-on-year.

Two wheel trauma

There were 1,280 collisions involving e-scooters, compared to 460 in 2020.

Of all collisions involving e-scooters, 309 included only one e-scooter with no other vehicles involved in the collision, compared to 83 in 2020.

In terms of casualties from collisions involving e-scooters, there were 1,359 compared to 484 in 2020. Of all casualties in collisions involving e-scooters, 1,034 were e-scooter users, compared to 384 in 2020.

There were also nine people killed in collisions involving e-scooters (all of whom were e-scooter riders) compared to 1 in 2020.

The DfT says its best estimate, after adjusting for changes in reporting by police, is that there were 390 seriously injured and 960 slightly injured casualties in 2021, this compares to 129 and 354 respectively, in 2020.

Clear need for regulation

Cousens states there is still much to learn about e-scooter incidents. However, “initial reporting shows that e-scooter riders are more likely to hurt themselves rather than others”.

Nottinghamshire police have been collecting owner type. This is despite the fact e-scooters are only legal through rental schemes. Their figures show “more private e-scooter injuries compared to those in rental schemes. Colusens believes this “highlights the need to properly regulate e-scooter specifications”.

The Government has confirmed its transport bill will include new rules to expand the legal use of e-scooters, despite growing safety concerns.