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A call for legislative reform regarding e-scooters

There continues to be ongoing confusion and uncertainly caused by the lack of e-scooter legislative framework. This is despite the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety stating that there have been 31 deaths involving e-scooters since 2019. The youngest person known to have died was 12 and the oldest was 74.

Safety concerns

The mother of Shakur Amoy Pinnock has raised concerns about the legislative delay. Shakur had been riding an e-scooter on a footpath with his girlfriend riding on the back. He rode into the path off a road when he was struck by a Volkswagen Golf.

Shakur fractured his skull and had a bleed on the brain. He could not be saved and six days later his life support was turned off at the age of 20. Ms Fraser-Pinnock is now calling on the Government to regulate the sale and use of e-scooters.

Lack of relevant legislation 

There continues to be a significant uptake in e-scooter usage. There are currently no proposals from the Government, although there has been an indication to legislate. The current legislation being utilised on roads or other public places is the Road Traffic Act 1988 and there have been numerous local reports of drink riders, confiscations, and fines for lack of insurance.

Pilot areas and rules

There are a number of local pilot areas. To participate in the pilot, a rider is required to have a full or provisional driving licence that includes the 'Q' category. This permits riders to "drive 2-wheeled and 3-wheeled vehicles without pedals with: an engine size not more than 50cc if powered by an internal combustion engine. a maximum design speed of no more than 25km/h (15.5mph)".

Meanwhile, cycle helmets are recommended for e-scooter riders, but not legally required. Sadly, Ms Fraser-Pinnock believes her son would be alive today if he had worn a helmet. 

Concerns over compensation

E-scooters can continue to be used on private land with the landowner’s permission. Given the Government’s repeal of the so-called 'Vnuk Law', innocent victims are likely to be left without a remedy, even if they sustained serious injury as a result of another. This may include, for example, scenarios where young people or teenagers sustain a brain injury and are left without a viable remedy.

What has been done to improve safety?

The Royal National Institute of Blind People, which has raised significant safety concerns about e-scooters, was influential in facilitating the introduction of e-scooters making a 'humming noise' to warn of their approach.

Hear more on this by listening to Irwin Mitchell’s podcast episode 68, where my colleague and serious injury lawyer Richard Biggs and representatives from the RNIB delve into e-scooter legislation and the issues affecting blind and partially sighted people. 

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

The mother of a 20-year-old who died in an e-scooter crash is still waiting to see safety changes she called for 18 months ago.”