Listed among the must-have gifts this Christmas, e-scooters are flying off the shelves, with thousands expected to sell before the big day. Ranging from £150 to £900, e-scooters have quickly become the most wanted gift with over a million private e-scooters now on our roads, despite their being illegal to use on public roads.
Although e-scooters feature on Christmas lists across the country, IAM RoadSmart believes many people aren’t aware of the dangers of riding an e-scooter, having found that the most common age range of e-scooter casualties is 10-19 years old, closely followed by 20-29-year-olds, with males being three times1 more likely to be involved in a collision.
The Government gave assurances that a new Transport Bill would be laid before Parliament in late 2022, clarifying the law on e-scooters, yet this has now been further delayed by the new administration with no firm guarantees of a Bill anytime soon. IAM RoadSmart believes this is unacceptable and that action must be taken after 1,349 collisions involving e-scooters were reported from June 2021 to June 2022, compared to 978 in the year ending June 2021.
Companies like Halfords who sell e-scooters include disclaimers against illegal use, yet they are campaigning for the government to legalise the use of electric scooters on UK roads and encouraging their customers to sign its online petition, whilst actively targeting commuters and promoting a handlebar hook which “gives you a handy place to hang your shopping bags”.
Welcoming the numerous e-scooter hire pilot studies in cities across the UK, IAM RoadSmart still believes immediate action must be taken to deal with dangerous and illegal private e-scooter use after crash test dummies were used as part of research by Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg, Germany, that showed just how vulnerable scooter owners are.
It’s clear that more needs to be done to educate people who are choosing to buy and ride e-scooters of the possible dangers surrounding them, and the importance of upskilling themselves before becoming victim to an incident involving an e-scooter.
The future for e-scooters can be bright if it is based around continuous monitoring, well managed and geo-fenced hire schemes, plus limited, tightly regulated private use. Whatever legislation is proposed, action is needed now with no more delays.