IAM RoadSmart warns mixing e-scooters, vehicles and pedestrians on roads and pavements is a dangerous cocktail

With reports of a Government consultation on legalisation for e-scooters imminent, IAM RoadSmart has warned that the rise in the use of electric scooters alongside vehicles on our roads and pedestrians on our pavements is bad news for road safety.

Last March the Department for Transport promised a far-reaching regulatory review to clarify the law around the use of e-scooters.

The government said it plans to invest £90 million in towns and cities to test transport innovation, and the review will explore regulations around new types of vehicles including e-scooters and e-cargo bike trailers.

It has been widely reported that the Government is now set to issue a further consultation and appears to be considering legalising the use of e-scooters on pathways and public roads in an effort to encourage green transportation (reference 1).

However, IAM RoadSmart believes that e-scooters and their increasing popularity will lead to many people riding them on public roads alongside bigger and faster vehicles – and will put individuals, including the scooter users themselves, in great danger.

The UK’s biggest independent road safety charity welcomes a long-term approach to transport planning by the government, but new modes of transport need dedicated routes to be truly safe.

It added that there is an urgent need for users of e-scooters to embark on some level of basic rider training and awareness before they start.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Electric scooters are simply not safe enough to be on our roads alongside full size vehicles.

“Mixing with pedestrians is also potentially very unsafe in shared areas. As with cycling, the answer probably lies in dedicated safe infrastructure for vulnerable road users.  Allied to that there is an urgent need for more rider training, information on protective clothing and clarification of e-scooters’ legal status.”

Neil added: “While we welcome innovation, transport changes and trends are happening far faster than the network is developing to accommodate them.

“Another Christmas has come and gone where e-scooters have been bought in large numbers as gifts, and summer beckons, when they will be widely used. With the prospect of even more e-scooters on our roads, so the need for clarity is now even more urgent.”

No new smart motorways until they are ‘guaranteed safe’ says IAM RoadSmart

IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, has welcomed reports that the Government intends to halt all smart motorway building – stating they must be guaranteed safe before any further public money is invested in them.

In the House of Commons on Thursday (30 January) Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, said a £92 million project in Kent will not open to traffic while the dangers of the roads are being assessed.

Other smart motorways due to be completed this year are a 10-mile stretch of the M62 in Greater Manchester, an 11-mile stretch of the M23 near Gatwick Airport and a 13.6-mile stretch of the M6 between Coventry and Coleshill – as yet there is no word on whether these projects will be completed either.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “A stop on new smart motorways until they can be guaranteed safe and understandable for all users makes sense.

“Spending scarce resource on roads that may have to be upgraded again in a few months would be a complete waste of time and put drivers’ lives at risk.

“The focus must now be on quickly establishing what can be done to make existing smart motorways much safer. That must start with a programme to deliver the right detection technology and more frequent refuges, as well as safe completion of current ‘live’ projects”

He added: “Extended education campaigns can also start immediately as well as greater enforcement of Red X violations across the network.”