Concerns rise over injuries and environmental damage
The use of e-scooters in the UK has grown in popularity recently, as they provide an efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. However, the regulations regarding their use remain ambiguous and vary across different regions.
Currently, it’s illegal to ride e-scooters on public roads or pavements in the UK. According to the Highway Act 1835, e-scooters are categorised as motor vehicles and thus should require a license, insurance, and registration. However, this law has not been updated to account for the rise in e-scooter usage and advancements in technology.
To address this, some UK cities are conducting e-scooter hire trials as part of an effort to explore their usefulness and impact. Cities such as London, Liverpool, and Bristol have implemented trials allowing users to rent e-scooters for short periods. The aim is to gain insights into usage patterns, safety concerns, and the potential benefits of e-scooters as a transportation option.
One of the major concerns surrounding e-scooter usage is the lack of regulations to protect riders and other road users. Without clear guidelines in place, accidents involving e-scooters are more likely to occur. Riders may not have the necessary knowledge or experience to navigate the roads safely, leading to potential collisions with pedestrians or other vehicles.
It is a worrying health and safety concern that e-scooter use is being encouraged, without a pro-active assessment of risk, and protective measures being enforced. This week it was reported in Gibraltar that a 9-year-old girl suffered potentially life-changing head trauma, broken arm, and a knee injury when she was struck by an e-scooter travelling in the wrong direction along a one-way street.
Another issue is the environmental impact of abandoned e-scooters. Many users tend to leave their rented e-scooters in random locations after use, causing clutter and obstructing pedestrians. Our feature picture was taken by our CEO last week when he was in Marseille, showing a small snapshot of dozens of e-scooters and e-bikes dredged out of the harbour.
Moreover, the scooters themselves are not always environmentally friendly, as some models may be powered by non-renewable sources or require frequent battery replacements.
To tackle the challenges related to e-scooter regulation, the UK government is working towards a cohesive approach. Proposed rules aim to ensure the safety of riders and others by implementing speed limits, creating designated areas for e-scooter use, and requiring riders to have a driving license. Additionally, companies operating e-scooter hire services are expected to have strict guidelines in place to prevent misuse and encourage responsible use.
While the use of e-scooters may offer some benefits, it is crucial for the UK government to establish robust regulations that proactively prioritise health and safety and address potential environmental concerns. Only then can e-scooters become a viable and sustainable mode of transportation.