The UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, is calling for more to be done to control the number of e-scooters being used illegally on public roads.
This comes as a web survey of over 1,400 of the charity’s members has revealed that e-scooter users could be unknowingly riding them illegally with around a third of those surveyed thinking there was a trial in their area when there wasn’t.
As it stands, the only e-scooters that can be used on public roads are those rented as part of government-backed trials. More than 50 areas are currently operating rental schemes – including major cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, and selected London boroughs.
Such lack of public awareness has led to e-scooters being let loose in towns and cities across the length and breadth of the country without proper regulation.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart commented: “Alarmingly, e-scooters have become a relatively common sight on the roads in locations which are not participating in the official government-backed rental scheme.
“Clearly more needs to be done to educate those who wish to use e-scooters, which is why we wish to remind e-scooter riders that they are only permitted to be used on public roads where government-backed trials are taking place. If our members who are road safety conscious and observant are confused, then it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the country!”
Neil went on to warn that those who continue to ride e-scooters on public roads could be slapped with hefty fines: “Education should be the preferred method to take e-scooters off the UK’s streets in areas they are not permitted. But in cases where the message is not getting through, we support deterrents and penalties such as fines, seizing of vehicles and penalty points on driving licences.”
Indeed, e-scooter culprits could face fines of up to £300 and six points on their licence if caught by the police. It only takes six points accumulated within the first two years of passing a test for a new driver’s licence to be revoked.
Neil concluded: “As the use of e-scooters surge, so do the safety challenges. For those who reside in an area where an e-scooter trial is being conducted, we urge riders to take as many safety measures as possible such as wearing a helmet. For the government we once again urge them to complete the pilot studies that have been running for over a year and clarify the law on e-scooters once and for all.”
For more information about IAM RoadSmart, which helps to improve driving and riding skills through courses and coaching, visit www.iamroadsmart.com.