The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) recently published its final report 'The Safety of Private E-Scooters in the UK', which I wrote about in March. Given the conclusions and recommendations made by PACTS in the report, I was somewhat surprised when it was announced in yesterday's Queen's Speech that the use of private e-scooters, (rather than those hired as part of an approved scheme), would be 'legalised'.
Ahead of the announcement, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the House of Commons' Transport Committee that by introducing appropriate legislation regarding the use of privately owned e-scooters, the Government would be able to stipulate certain standards to be met, such as for speed, power and lights. He is understood to have said the Government wanted to 'crack down on the private market' and make it illegal to sell e-scooters which don’t meet the regulatory standards the Government plans to bring in. Once standards had been set, he said, the Government could then decide how e-scooters should be used.
Given the difficulties the police currently have in enforcing the currently illegal use of private e-scooters, it is concerning as to how they might be expected to cope with enforcing what will have to be detailed legislation regarding wheel size, power and speed capabilities, (if the PACTS recommendations are followed).
Whilst the Government's announcement answers the question many have been asking for some time now, by indicating they plan to tackle the increasing use of private e-scooters on the roads and pavements(!), it raises many more questions as to how they will effectively do this.
As I have written before there already appears to be considerable confusion amongst the public as to the rules surrounding the use of e-scooters. For example, a woman was recently banned from driving after being caught riding a hired e-scooter whilst drunk.
However if you, (as Lord Rosser said speaking for the Opposition in a debate in the House of Lords in January 2022), believe e-scooters 'could have much to offer' as they could provide a 'safe, relatively cheap and environmentally-friendly method of transport', then the recent announcement will be good news.
As a personal injury lawyer who helps client's through the often life-changing injuries suffered in vehicle accidents, I will be watching developments closely. I am concerned that the increased use of e-scooters leaves both riders and other road users, in particular pedestrians, vulnerable to injury. In particular, I wonder whether there will be appropriate insurance requirements to protect those who will, sadly, inevitably suffer injury through no fault of their own.
For more information about your rights and how we can help if you are injured due to the use of an e-scooter, please visit our webpage here.
The Queen’s speech delivered by Prince Charles today included plans to make e-scooters legal, despite a huge surge in not just the amount of people hospitalised from using them but also a massive increase in ambulances needed to attend e-scooter accidents.