Solicitors fear there could be a surge in accidents involving E-scooters thanks to an oncoming change in the law. Transport Secretary Grant Sharps has indicated that privately-owned E-scooters may soon be made legal on roads and road traffic experts, Forbes Solicitors, are preparing for a surge in accidents.
Electric scooters can be seen around cities all over the UK, with an estimated one million being sold in the UK to date. Since June 2021, London has been testing an E-Scooter rental campaign in order to reduce carbon emission and it has been a great success, with more than 585,000 trips being taken covering a total of 1.6million kilometres.
The scooters are described by Ben Bradshaw from the Department for Transport as a “convenient, cheap and environmentally friendly form of transport”, but others strongly disagree. Research by the Department for Transport shows that a total of 1,034 e-scooter riders or passengers were injured in 2021, accounting for 76 per cent of all casualties in crashes involving the devices. That includes nine users who were killed and 305 who were seriously hurt.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said; “The use of private e-scooters on the roads could soon be permitted under a change in the law. In the future, I want to crack down on the illegal use on roads of non-compliant e-scooters”. Non compliant and privately owned E-Scooters are only allowed to be used on private land under the current law, although Mayor Sadiq Khan acknowledges they are being used on the road of London and are “putting Londoners at risk of significant harm, especially most vulnerable such as people with limited mobility, visual impairments and hearing loss”
MP Simon Jupp stating said: “There were 900 collisions between 2021-2022, 11 of which were fatal.” By allowing more scooters on the road, there is a fear that collisions will continue to rise.
Lisa Atkinson, an associate from Forbes Solicitors said: “A total of 223 people travelling on foot were wounded by the contraptions in Britain last year, including 63 who were seriously hurt. That is up from 57 pedestrian casualties in 2020, which included 13 serious injuries. If the legislation is introduced to legalise e-scooters, it is expected that the situation is only going to worsen.”
It is expected that the new legislation will likely include speed and weight caps, modification restrictions and specifications for where they can safely use the scooters. Currently rental scooters require a full or provisional driving licence and in certain regions an online safety course.