E-Scooters – Help or Hindrance?

e-scooter

Nationally and globally, human beings are increasingly conscious of the effect of global warming on climate change. Subsequently, the revolution in sustainable energy is generating innovation in all areas of our daily lives, particularly with regard to transportation. 

The sales of electric vehicles are increasing as charging infrastructures improve and prices fall, and then there are e-scooters.

As an affordable and efficient way of getting from A to B, e-scooters would appear to be a game-changer. A few cities like Oxford, Bristol and London have authorised e-scooter rentals which are perfect to nip around on city centre roads. However, to ride a privately owned e-scooter anywhere other than on your own land, and you would in fact be breaking the law; any e-scooters you may have seen whizzing around your local shopping centre, cruising on the pavements or pottering along rural roads, are 100% illegal. 

Given that e-scooters are motorised vehicles, capable of speeds of 20km per hour, they have the potential to cause harm to members of the public and as they are currently unregistered, untaxed and uninsured, that is why they have been restricted to use on private land only.

However, as many of us will have witnessed, the temptation to use them on roads or pavements, is clearly just too much for many. The government is looking at how UK law will be adapted to accommodate high-tech innovations, like e-scooters, hover boards or E uni-cycles, but as “powered transporters”, it seems highly unlikely that they would be licensed to operate on pavements any more than the humble bicycle would be.

The arguments for and against e-scooters is fierce. The pro-lobby argue that they are a cheap, sustainable mode of transport that cause as little impact as a bicycle, while the anti-lobby believe that the speed they can generate means that they should be taxed, insured and have the same legal framework as a car. It seems car drivers don’t want them on the roads and bike owners don’t want them on cycle paths but the fact remains that they have arrived in our communities and the risks need to be minimised.

Serious Injury Law contends that “before legalising e-scooters, significant efforts should be made to raise awareness of the dangers as well as the measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of an injury, such as wearing a helmet. We believe that the introduction of e-scooter laws and regulations will play a vital role in combatting dangerous and illegal use of e-scooters as well as helping to reduce the number of preventable accidents.”

It is worth pointing out that e-bikes have already snuck under the radar on the cycling scene. While it might seem that your local middle-aged-man-in-lycra is pounding with great human effort up local slopes, on closer inspection, he may be being assisted by a well disguised electric motor. But the differential from e-scooters is that the power and speed of e-bikes is more limited.

Whatever the mode of transport, it boils down to the behaviour of the rider. If you are reckless in a public space you may be fined and have your mode of transport confiscated.

Local police are very aware of the risks caused to pedestrians and vehicles by reckless e-scooter riding. If you have any issues please report to the police online or call 999 for an emergency or 101 for a non-emergency situation.

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