A London coroner has called for  greater clarity and enforcement of regulations of private e-scooter use.The comments and warnings about e-scooter safety come after inquest into the death of a 14-year-old girl in East London.

Dangerous vehicles

Senior coroner Graeme Irvine says fatalities from e-scooter crashes more than doubled in the last year after a change in police policy. The police have confiscated less than 1,200 e-scooters in the last year compared to more than 4,000 in the previous 12 months.

He has issued a report directly to Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley. It warns of a continuing rise in deaths and injuries unless they take “action” to prevent future deaths.

Rising concerns

An inquest into the death of Fatima Abukar, 14, on March 21 last year heard she was riding a privately owned e-scooter on the pavement of Green Street, East Ham before entering the carriageway.

“At the time of her death Ms Abukar was riding a privately owned e-scooter on a public highway.“Despite the ubiquity of such devices on London’s streets, riding them on public roads is unlawful.“Whereas approximately 4,000 unlawfully used scooters were seized by the Metropolitan Police Service in 2021, only 1,100 were confiscated in 2022.“The reduction is attributable to a change in policy introduced in November 2021.“An inverse correlation exists between the rate of legal enforcement and the rate of deaths caused by e-scooters.”He added that the number of deaths in the first half of 2022 was “more than double” the figure for the same period last year.

Regulation and enforcement failing

Private e-scooters are banned in the UK but are often used on public roads and pavements.Mr Irvine noted that not all e-scooter manufacturers and retailers provide consumers with written warnings about illegal use.

“Where such warnings are present, often they are not prominent,” he added.The coroner sent his report to major retailers.Legal trials of rental e-scooters on roads in dozens of towns and cities across England have been extended until May 2024.But the spotlight also lands on the government. After receiving praise for the trial of e-scooters to improve local environments, road safety experts have repeatedly called for greater clarification of the regulations governing their use. What’s more, the current rules need to be enforced to prevent injuries and deaths to both scooter riders and other road users.Use of private e-scooter in public is illegal, whether on the pavement or the road. There is no insurance provision or relevant safety and security check for the motorised vehicles.