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E-Scooters – What Do You Know?

The number of e-scooters are on the rise and unfortunately, this means that there has been a huge increase in e-scooter accidents over recent years. Data from the Department of Transport states that in 2020 only 1 e-scooter rider was killed but by 2022 this had increased to 11. The number of e-scooter riders who were casualties increased from 384 in 2020 to 1149 in 2022.

E-scooter Claims

As a result of this, as a firm who deals with personal injury claims, we are now representing far more individuals who have been involved in accidents involving e-scooters than ever before. There are a wide variety of different claims involving e-scooters, including pedestrians being hit by e-scooters, faulty e-scooters leading to the rider falling and accidents involving collisions with vehicles.


Most commuter e-scooters have a maximum speed of 25 mph. If you have ever managed to cycle (or scoot!) at this speed, you’ll know it’s fast.

As a result of their speed and the rider being exposed and low off the ground, accidents involving e-scooters often result in serious injuries. Injuries often include head injuries as many riders do not wear helmets as well as lower limb injuries due to the rider hopping off the scooter at the last minute to avoid a collision. Other injuries tend to be to wrists and shoulders as a result of the rider putting their hands out to arrest their fall.

I am currently representing a lady who upon stepping out of a building onto the pavement, was ploughed into by an e-scooter rider, showing that parties other than the rider themselves can be injured.

The Law

E-scooters come under the category of “powered transporters” (quite simply, they are powered by a motor).

E-scooters are legal to sell, buy and own. It is legal to ride an e-scooter on private land but it is not legal to ride an e-scooter on the road or pavement.

They are classified as motor vehicles under the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means that the rules that apply to motor vehicles such as the need to have a valid licence, tax and insurance, also applies to e-scooters. In addition, e-scooters don’t have rear lights or number plates. It is currently not possible to get insurance for privately owned e-scooters, which means it is illegal to use them on the road.

(Rental schemes are an exception to this. All riders need a valid driving licence, motor insurance policy and since December 2023, riders need to register their name, driving licence number and a photograph of the front of their driving licence with the provider).

Ex-Turpi (The Illegality Defence)

It is for this reason that e-scooter claims are so difficult to bring. Defendant’s insurers will often plead ex-turpi, which is the illegality defence. This means that a claim cannot arise from an illegal act. Riding an e-scooter on a public road is an illegal act and therefore if the rider is involved in an accident, bringing a claim for compensation can be very difficult.

A Recent Settled Case

I have recently settled a case involving an individual who was riding an e-scooter along a public road when the driver of a parked vehicle opened their car door into their path. This caused my Client to fall off the e-scooter landing heavily onto the road. It was a complicated case with many issues. Not only did the driver’s insurer raise the illegality defence, there was a question over my Client’s speed and road positioning (had they not been riding so close to the parked vehicles, the accident may have been avoided). My Client was also not wearing a helmet and there is an argument to say that had they been, their head and jaw injuries could have been avoided or certainly may not have been as serious. Despite the challenges, I was pleased that I managed to secure a very good settlement for my Client.

What does the future hold?

E-scooters are a low-cost, environmentally friendly way to travel and their use is on the up. But it’s possible to buy an e-scooter with no warning that they are currently illegal to use on public roads.

Since December 2023, e-scooter rental companies need to ensure that they have robust systems in place for storing riders’ information which ultimately they could share with the police.

Simple measurers such as regulating e-scooters and ensuring that they adhere to certain standards such as speed, power, lights and registration could assist. Given by the increase in the number of personal injury claims that we are dealing with involving e-scooters, clearly the law needs to change to ensure that all road users are kept safe.

If you have suffered an injury due to someone else negligence you may be entitled to claim compensation. Call our personal injury experts on 0330 822 3451 or request a callback online.