E-Scooters branded ‘disaster’ by commentator calling for ban
Josh Hughes, who specialises in representing those with serious injuries suffered in road traffic accidents, believes private e-scooters will soon be allowed on UK roads and we will see more used as a result. That’s despite criticism following their involvement in several crashes recently, including one that left a “wonderful boy” dead in Bromley, southeast London this week.
Mr Hughes added that the law around insurance to ride private e-scooters needs to change rapidly to protect road users.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Express, the personal injury lawyer said: “Where someone is injured by a privately owned e-scooter, say a pedestrian walking on a pavement or crossing a road, there is unlikely to be a valid insurance policy in place against which the injured party could recover compensation.
“This could leave entirely innocent victims without justice which is clearly unsatisfactory. It is worth noting that, in this scenario, the rider at fault for the injuries would be left exposed to having to cover substantial damages and legal costs themselves.
“E-scooters aren’t going away. Safety is a real issue that needs tackling but the environmental benefits of micro-mobility are also significant.
“As a result, in my view, it will be only a matter of time before the Government recognises the need to follow other countries and legalise private e-scooter use.”
German, French, Austrian and Swiss officials have, in recent years, permitted use of privately owned electronic scooters on their country’s roads. The legal use of private e-scooters on public roads is being trialled in most of London.
It otherwise remains illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter on a UK public road, cycle lane or pavement.
Riders who breach these rules face the prospect of a £300 fixed penalty notice, six points on their driving licence or the scooter being impounded.
Junior Shay Alexander was riding an escooter when he was involved in a crash
A young man on an e-scooter passes new tramlines in Birmingham
Mr Hughes, who is partner at solicitors Bolt Burdon Kemp in Islington, north London, added: “To date, despite the growing numbers of serious accidents, there has been no announcement on insurance requirements should e-scooters become legal. Only when they do, will widely available compulsory insurance become available to riders which will protect our most vulnerable road users.
“As it stands, the law classifies e-scooters as ‘motor vehicles’, meaning they are subject to the same legal requirements as a car such as MOT, to tax and licence plates – requirements riders cannot realistically comply with. This result is that riding them on public roads, pavements or cycle lanes is illegal and therefore motor insurance is not available for private users.”
The lawyer, who has around 10 years experience in the industry, also warned people against using e-scooters to get home after a night’s drinking while they’re available in London for the trial, which will conclude in June 2022.
The trial launched in five areas of the city – Canary Wharf, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond, and Kensington & Chelsea. Users are also allowed to ride through Tower Hamlets.
The legalising of private electronic scooters is being trialled in the capital
Junior Shay Alexander, 16, died after his e-scooter collided with a car
Where someone is injured by a privately owned e-scooter… There is unlikely to be a valid insurance policy in place against which the injured party could recover compensation
Junior Shay Alexander, 16, was riding an e-scooter in Bromley when he was in collision with a car on Sunday.
Met Police later arrested a man on suspicion of drink-driving, causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop after an accident.
Junior’s parents said they were “struggling to come to terms with the fact our beautiful son is gone”.
They added: “He was a wonderful son, brother, uncle, grandson and all those who knew him loved him.”
A Metropolitan Police officer speaks with a male e-scooter rider in London
Scotland Yard released the family statement as they also began an inquiry into an e-scooter crash in Camberwell which left a three-year-old girl with “life-changing” injuries.
Rob Smith, an environmentalist who lives nearby, believes e-scooters are a “recipe for disaster”.
The dad said: “When I went to pick up my daughter from school there was a guy on an e-scooter going around 20 mph.
“I don’t like them, because they are lazy and you don’t concentrate on what you’re doing.
“You’re just pressing go and stop and some riders even wear headphones – It’s a recipe for disaster.
“They’re just like a car, but without an engine.”
GB News: Colin Brazier slams the use of E-scooters
Shopkeeper Anthony Mumford, 53, died following an e-scooter accident in Twickenham, southwest London, this month and Shakur Pinnock, 20, after a crash involving his e-scooter and a car in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, in June.
TV presenter Emily Hartridge was the first person to die using an e-scooter in the UK after a collision with a lorry in 2019.
Outside the capital, the law surrounding e-scooters has confused some users. A father was fined £1,056 in June after borrowing his teenage son’s e-scooter to get to a doctor’s appointment in Ely, Cardiff.
E-scooters are, critics say, difficult to see and hear but can reach speeds of up to 68mph.