Immediate action on e-scooters is needed to address the number of people injured and killed while riding the devices, according to a leading road safety charity.
IAM Roadsmart has called on the Government to “make up its mind” on the safety of electric scooters after the Department for Transport (DfT) for the first time released data on e-scooter related accidents alongside its annual road casualty report.
According to the DfT figures for 2020, one person was killed and 128 were seriously injured in crashes involving e-scooters on public roads.
A total of 484 casualties were recorded and while the majority were riders themselves, 100 other road users were also hurt. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists were among others who suffered serious injuries in collisions with e-scooter riders.
However, reports suggest there is a growing problem with privately-owned scooters being used in public spaces. Earlier this year police in London confiscated more than 500 e-scooters in a single week from users riding them illegally.
IAM Roadsmart has accused the Government of repeatedly delaying results from its pilot schemes and warned that without them a full review of their safety and any necessary legislation cannot be carried out.
Its director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said that analysis of trial data and a decision on legislation had taken far too long.
He commented: “By delaying yet again the results of the pilot schemes we have another Christmas looming where people will be buying and using a totally unregulated form of transport in the UK.
“The pilots were launched in July 2020 and are now not due to finish until March 2022, plus the time required after that for analysis and legislation – this has taken far too long in our opinion. In the meantime, the police should make it absolutely clear that anyone caught riding an e-scooter outside private land or a trial area will have their vehicle seized immediately.
“E-scooters may have a role to play in the future transport mix, but this can only happen once their legal status has been made completely clear and that cannot happen soon enough.”
E-scooters are seen as a potentially cheap and effective mobility solution, especially in busy cities but questions remain around what, if any, limits should be put on them and their users.