Smart Transport

Safety the “overwhelming concern” for e-scooter riders in the UK, says DfT

Eight in 10 in the UK raised safety as the main disadvantage to using e-scooters, according to new research commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The DfT commissioned research of 4,046 adults aged 16 and over, carried out by Kantar in January 2020,  looks at public perceptions of e-scooters in the UK.

This project consisted of a nationally representative survey, telephone interviews and an online community in which participants completed a series of qualitative research activities.

Of those surveyed, 41% mentioned safety of pedestrians being their main concern, while 35% mentioned the safety of riders themselves.

In January 2020 awareness of e-scooters was high (90%), while knowledge of them remained lower (47%).

Seven in 10 respondents mentioned at least one advantage of e-scooters, with key themes being environmental benefits (24%), speed (16%) and the fun of riding (13%). 

Uptake of e-scooters remained low with 7% having ever used an e-scooter, and 2% using an e-scooter regularly or occasionally.

Under a tenth (9%) of respondents said they would likely buy an e-scooter if they were legal to use and a similar price to a bike.

A slightly larger proportion (15%) said they would be likely to hire an e-scooter in a town or city centre in the UK if this were an option.

Respondents were most supportive of e-scooters being legal to ride in cycle lanes on the road (60%). Just under one in seven (14%) of respondents thought that e-scooters should not be used at all in public areas.

The more respondents claimed to know about e-scooters, the more likely they were to report they would buy or hire an electric scooter (dependent on a change in the law).

The DfT said these findings will be used to feed into and shape the national e-scooter trials, which started on July 12, 2020.

Recent figures released by the DfT estimated there were 484 casualties in accidents involving e-scooters in Great Britain last year, including one fatality, 128 seriously injured and 355 slightly injured.

Think tank Centre for London has called on the legalisation of e-scooters to help reduce car use, cut carbon emissions, and improve air quality in the capital.

Micromobility operator Voi has said e-scooters are having a positive impact on modal shift, having replaced an estimated 370,000 car trips and saved 200 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the West of England.

The DfT is expected to use the e-scooter trials to help inform how it moves forward with future e-scooter policy in the UK.

Our next event: register now

Smart Transport Conference November 22 LondonRegister today for our November 2022 conference

SAVE THE DATE – the next Smart Transport Conference will take place on November 22 at etc.venues, London.

25% discount until 31 May. Book now to reserve your place.

This a must-attend event for anyone who wants to understand how the public and private sectors can work together to achieve transport policy.

2021 conference

Register to attend

Comment as guest

Login  /  Register


No comments have been made yet.

Related content

Office Address
  • Smart Transport
    Media House
    Lynch Wood
    PE2 6EA
Join the community
  • Smart Transport is the UK's most important brand to bring together senior public policy makers and influential private sector leaders to showcase real-time solutions aligned to government policy.
  • Find out more
  • Insight


Welcome to Smart Transport

Welcome to the Smart Transport website, keeping you up-to-date with the latest news, insight and reports from policymakers and thought leaders.

The Smart Transport brand connects policy to solutions by bringing national government and local authority policymakers together with private sector organisations.

Contact Lindsay Greatbatch for more information.

© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd
Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA - Registered number 01176085 IPSO regulated logo


Smart Transport members

Smart Transport board members


Please note:
By submitting any material to us you are confirming that the material is your own original work or that you have permission from the copyright owner to use the material and to authorise Bauer Consumer Media to use it as described in this paragraph. You also promise that you have permission from anyone featured or
referred to in the submitted material to it being used by Bauer Consumer Media. If Bauer Consumer Media receives a claim from a copyright owner or a person
featured in any material you have sent us, we will inform that person that you have granted us permission to use the relevant material and you will be responsible for paying any amounts due to the copyright owner or featured person and/or for reimbursing Bauer Consumer Media for any losses it has suffered as a result.