Smart Transport

PACTS urges DfT to take immediate action on illegal private e-scooters

Illegal use of a private e-scooter in the UK

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is urging the Department for Transport (DfT) to urgently address private e-scooter use in the UK following 11 fatalities and at least 900 casualties.

PACTS has published a new report, ‘The safety of private e-scooters in the UK’, which has been funded by The Road Safety Trust.

The report draws together research provided by project partners and casualty data for Great Britain in 2021.

It considers how legalisation is developing in mainland Europe and presents recommendations for how e-scooters could be regulated should the Government choose to legalise their use.

Tony Ciaburro, PACTS chair, said: “We have drawn upon the data and advice of a wide range of partners from both the public and private sectors, including the police, trauma specialists, insurance companies, legal organisations, and lead industry players.

“We all remain concerned that any introduction of e-scooters must be accompanied by regulations for construction and use and standards that prioritises the safety not just of riders, but of all other road users as well.

“If the Government decides to legalise e-scooters, PACTS and its partners will strive to ensure their introduction is as safe as possible and help the UK to assert itself once again as a world leader on road safety.”

PACTS believes legislation on private e-scooter use is still at least a year away as the DfT collects evidence from its shared e-scooter trials (which are legal) to inform its new e-scooter policies.

Private e-scooters can be sold and bought in the UK as it is the responsibility of the rider not to use them on public roads, footpaths, cycle lanes or roads.

Pure Electric, one brand that sells e-scooters in the UK, has a statement as part of its terms of use for e-scooters.

It states: "It is the complete responsibility of the customer to ensure that your e-scooter is operated by all country and local laws.

"The customer assumes all liability and risk associated with the use of electric scooter products and holds Pure  Electric and its owners free from any liability caused by their use."

Chief constable Jo Shiner, National Police Chiefs Council lead for roads policing, added: "We do need to have the debate on what sort of controls and regulations might be necessary and proportionate to make sure we are all safe whatever type of travel mode we use.

"I therefore welcome this report by PACTS which I am sure will further add to the debate and which will be of interest to law enforcement, policy makers and the public."

PACTS therefore recommends that the DfT:

  • take immediate action to address dangerous and illegal private e-scooter use;
  • publish the data from the trials and undertake a thorough public consultation before making any decision on the legalisation of e-scooters;
  • commission or undertake further research; and 
  • If the Government decides to legalise use of private scooters, it should adopt regulations for safe construction and use as set out by PACTS.  

PACTS is discussing the report as part of a free webinar on 24 March.

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