You cannot currently ride an electric e-scooter on a public road, cycle lane or pavement in the UK and those who do are committing an offence. Notwithstanding this, sales of electric scooters are rising as sadly are the number of injuries caused by them.
An e-scooter is powered by a motor, meaning they are classified as a motor vehicle in law and therefore to use one you must be over 18 years of age and hold a current driving licence.
Recent Department of Transport (DoT) figures have revealed there were 484 casualties from e-scooter incidents last year, including the death of a rider and 128 serious injuries.
Of those injured, around two-thirds of the riders were aged under 30, including 118 who were 10 to 19 years old and two who were under 10. One was over 70. The DoT said the accidents related largely to private use rather than official trials.
During Road Safety Week, which runs from 15 to 21 November 2021, Shoosmiths is highlighting the increasing number of accidents involving e-scooters.
In Northamptonshire alone in 2020, at least four people were hurt in these types of crashes. In September, an e-scooter rider in his 20s suffered "potentially life-changing injuries" after colliding with a car in Northampton town centre.
Earlier this year, Shoosmiths raised concerns over the safety of e-scooters and the legal claims that may arise in the case of accidents.
In many towns and cities there are rental e scooters available for hire and these unlike private e scooters can be used or ridden on public roads.
Rented e-scooters arrived in Northampton when a Government-backed trial was launched last September promoting them as an eco-friendly way of getting around town. The Voi scheme in the town was recently extended to March 2022, with more trials launched in Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and Rushden. When renting a Voi scooter, the scooter is covered by Voi’s liability insurance in the event that a rider causes injury or damage to property to a third party whilst operating the same.
Hayley Brown, a specialist in serious injury claims in Shoosmiths’ personal injury team in Northampton, said:
“Earlier in the year we predicted a rise in these types of accidents and sadly our concerns appear to be justified. The Department of Transport numbers are worrying.”
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2023