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Police warning to e-scooter riders

North Yorkshire Police has warned e-scooter riders about the importance of complying with road traffic laws. 

The force, which covers York, an area participating in an e-scooter pilot allowing them to be ridden on public roads, raised concerns about criminality associated with riding e-scooters. In the piloted areas, e-scooters can be ridden on public roads. 

However, the riders must hold, at the very least, a provisional driving licence, be 18-years-old or older and register with the company managing the pilot scheme. The riders cannot ride an e-scooter if they are over the prescribed alcohol limit. They are required to ensure that they have insurance in place. 

E-scooters: The insurance position

There is clearly a rapid uptake in the use of e-scooters which will inevitable continue to increase. What is unclear at present is how the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) will treat uninsured e-scooter accidents on a road or other public place. 

My personal view that those accidents are clearly covered by the Road Traffic Act 1988 and would therefore make the MIB liable to satisfy any unsatisfied Judgment obtained against an e-scooter rider. 

It is concerning that e-scooters are seen as a form of casual transport. There have been numerous examples of riders consuming excessive alcohol and then riding their e-scooter home, only to be prosecuted when stopped. There have been examples of e-scooters being driven on dangerous places, including pavements, resulting in serious injury to pedestrians. 

It is also likely, although there has been less publicity, that riders are sharing e-scooters with unlicensed individuals.

What to do

If you are participating in a trial, you should:

  • Only participate if you are 18 years old or more; 
  • Have a provisional driving licence; 
  • Have insurance which you arrange personally or via the company that you are hiring the e-scooter from;
  • Register with the company delivering the pilot;
  • Abide by the laws of the road and the Highway Code and act as you would when driving a vehicle. 

The police are likely to proactively target riders who are committed criminal offences. 

The Crown Prosecution Service will, in my view, seek to make examples out of those caught breaking the laws to ensure future compliance by the general public as e-scooters become even more popular in the UK. 

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in helping people following road accidents at our dedicated serious injury section.

E-scooters are classed as motor vehicles, police have warned - which means you must have a driving licence and special insurance if you're to ride them legally on public roads.”