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Safety concerns mount after e-scooter crashes leave 12 dead in a year

By Kelly Lingard, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell  

Fatal accidents involving e-scooters

A report issued today by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has found that 12 people have died this year in incidents involving e-scooters.

One of the main issues with e-scooters, as my colleagues have previously noted when considering the rise of e-scooter usage in the UK, is the speed that they can reach particularly if they are unlawfully modified for use on public roads or places.

Adding to this, PACTS research published in identified that just per cent of those who suffered injury were wearing a helmet. There are understandably significant ongoing safety concerns about the rise of serious injuries caused by e-scooters, particularly where safety equipment is not being worn.

October's PACTS report found that, of those at risk, men are twice as likely to be injured as women and the age range of those injured has ranged from four to 82 years. The cause of such incidents has varied but in Liverpool, an audit of e-scooter casualties from October 2020 to July 2021 was completed. The audit found that whilst one injured rider had been hit by another vehicle, the other 91 reported incidents had been caused by a loss of control of the e-scooter, with the injured party falling or colliding with a stationary object.

Estimating the scale of e-scooter accidents

October's PACTS report also notes that it is difficult to establish the scale of e-scooter incidents as there is currently no category for the police to indicate e-scooter incidents when reporting road collisions involving casualties.

From that research, PACTS aims to compile recommendations for the safe use and construction of private e-scooters to inform any future regulations. Such recommendations are intended to be provided in a final report, currently due in early 2022.

Strain on the NHS

It is worrying to learn of the rise in serious injury and deaths involving e-scooters in the last year and the impact that this is already having on the NHS. The report notes that each patient is costing the NHS on average £1,000 and as patient numbers likely increase, this will put even more strain on a system struggling to cope during a global pandemic.

The rise of e-scooter usage, without users wearing appropriate safety equipment, is a particular area for concern as e-scooters can reach significant speeds whilst having limited to no proper restrictions on usage. The report notes the difficulty in establishing the true scale of the e-scooter problem at present and it is vital that police departments record such incidents appropriately so that there is increased visibility on the scale and risks associated with e-scooter usage in the UK.

The recommendations set out in the awaited PACTS report will be a welcome step to addressing what is becoming a very significant area of concern across the country.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people following e-scooter collisions at our dedicated e-scooters section.