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Electric Scooters (E-Scooters) and the Law UK

Posted on 20th February 2020

What is an E-Scooter?

Electric scooterAn electric scooter (also known as an e-scooter) is similar to a two-wheeled manual scooter, except it is propelled by a motor. They are becoming increasingly popular in cities as they are seen to be a practical, eco-friendly, cost-effective mode of transport.

 

 

Safety Concerns

As the number of e-scooters on the streets has risen, so too has the number of accidents.
E-scooters can reach speeds of up to 30mph and higher and when they are in the hands of an inexperienced user, they can be very dangerous.

Some of the dangers which users should be mindful off are:

  • Weaving between traffic and pedestrians
  • Riding e-scooters without helmets or any other safety equipment.
  • Riding e-scooters with a passenger on board
  • Wearing headphones

E-scooter collisions have resulted in fatalities in numerous countries.

The UK has already seen its first death caused by an e-scooter, when 35 year old television presenter and YouTube personality Emily Hartridge died in a collision with a lorry in July 2019.

The Law in the UK

According to the Department of Transport, e-scooters are currently banned on the UK’s public roads, cycle paths and pavements without complying with certain legal requirements.

They are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), or ‘Powered Transporters’.

Given how powered transporters are motorised and designed, they fall within the legal definition of a “motor vehicle” under s185 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Therefore, the laws that apply to motor vehicles apply to powered transporters such as tax, MOT, licence plates, etc., which potential users will find very difficult.

It is legal to use a powered transporter on private land with the permission of the land owner.

If you are caught using an e-scooter on a public road or pavement, you can face fines of £300 and six points on your driving licence.

It has recently been reported that the Government is planning to allow e-scooters on the road depending on the results of a consultation and trial period.

The approach that will be adopted is currently unclear. However, it is clear that the law is struggling to keep pace with the growing popularity of e-scooters.

What to do if you are involved in a collision

An e-scooter rider owes a duty of care to pedestrians, cyclists and other road users in the usual way. If the rider is negligent and causes a person to suffer injury and/or loss, then they can be sued.

If you were harmed in an e-scooter related accident, it is important that you contact a solicitor to help you understand your legal rights and provide advice as to whether you may have a valid claim to pursue compensation for your injuries and any financial losses you incur as a result of the accident.

A personal injury solicitor will be able to investigate whether an e-scooter user has insurance to cover any claim. Although insurance products are available, it is currently not compulsory for an e-scooter user to have insurance and this can prove problematic when it comes to recovering damages and costs. By instructing a specialist solicitor, this could increase your chances of bringing a successful claim.

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