Private e-scooter safety called into question – Move Electric

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety has gathered evidence on both rental and private e-scooters...

Perry eHopper - electric scooter

Private e-scooters shouldn't be legalised until there's a greater understanding of the safety implications of allowing their use, an interim report by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACT) has concluded.

Their report, funded by the Road Safety Trust, has compiled evidence on the safety of e-scooters but hasn't yet made any conclusions surrounding their legalisation. A further update is expected next spring.

It's currently illegal to ride an e-scooter on UK public roads or pavements, meaning you can only use one on private land.

This hasn’t stopped people from investing in e-scooters, however, with The Bicycle Association estimating that around 360,000 were sold in 2020 last year. Data suggests that since the start of 2021, there have been nine deaths from e-scooter-related accidents and many more casualties including riders and other road users, such as car drivers. 

However, the Government has been looking into whether it should legalise their use on the highway in order to reduce the number of high-polluting, short-distance car journeys and reduce congestion. Several countries around the world have already legalised e-scooters for this reason.

Woman riding e-scooter in road

In July 2020, the Government launched an e-scooter trial across the UK with around 50 local authorities introducing regulated e-scooter rental schemes in order to gather data on their use patterns and safety. 

However, the PACT has so far concluded that there are clear differences in safety between rental e-scooters and privately owned ones. Rental e-scooters operate through a smartphone app, making it easier to implement safety measures and track their usage, but it has highlighted that this isn't possible with private e-scooters, presenting further challenges to their legalisation.

The advisory council will continue to work with partners in order to gain more insight into private e-scooters with a focus on vehicle design, speed, e-scooter user behaviour and roads. 

It will release a final report early next year to offer further guidance to the government on e-scooter legalisation. 

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