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Government plan to regulate e-scooters on public roads is overdue but legislation must be robust

Recently Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, announced in front of the Transport Committee the government's plans to legalise the use of privately-owned e-scooters on public roads.  

Today's Queen’s Speech outlined plans to introduce legislation which will regulate standards of e-scooters which are bought in shops.

I wrote in February that the number of e-scoters on public roads continues to rise, yet their use remains unregulated. 

The current law regarding e-scooters

Many people are unaware that e-scooters cannot be legally used on public land and can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission, or alternatively where there’s an approved rental trial. 

Last year 12 people died involving accidents with e-scooters; though Mr Shapps highlighted only that the rental schemes had no deaths associated with them.  This may be due to the fact that rental scooters are made to a specific standard and can be monitored more carefully than those which are privately-owned. 

Presently, any innocent victims could be left without a remedy if involved in an accident involving an e-scooter. 

Plans to regulate e-scooters is overdue

I welcome the government’s plans to regulate the use of e-scooters, which is overdue.  It remains to be seen as to what extent these regulations will take steps to ensure pedestrian and e-scooter riders’ safety.  

Ignorance around the law

There still seems to be an ignorance of the law around e-scooters, as illustrated by the recent case of a woman using an e-scooter whilst drunk after a hen-do and subsequently being banned from driving for 18 months.

Legislation needs to be robust

As e-scooter numbers continue to rise, I hope that the legislation the government introduces is sufficiently robust so as to ensure that e-scooters are used as safely as possible and that risks of accidents are minimised.  

I further hope that those innocent victims of accidents involving e-scooters are left with a legal remedy, but it remains to be seen whether any government legislation will address this, for example the requirement for e-scooter riders to have compulsory insurance.

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

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has promised to “crack down” on illegal e-scooter sales in England.

He told MPs on the Commons Transport Committee approved models could be then licensed for use on public roads.”