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.”