Private e-scooters could be legalised despite increased ambulance calls
Privately owned e-scooters could be legalised for use on public roads, despite a sharp increase in the number of e-scooter-related ambulance calls.
At present, only e-scooters operated and insured by licensed rental firms can be used on public roads and cycle lanes, while privately owned e-scooters are restricted to private land.
Speaking to the Transport Committee, though, secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps said: “We will take powers to properly regulate and then be able to decide the usage of them [private e-scooters].”
Shapps added that he would be making an announcement on the topic on 10 May.
Data acquired by the Major Trauma Group, which comprises legal and health professionals, reveals that NHS ambulance trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were called to 82 per cent more e-scooter accidents in 2021 than in 2020.
NHS ambulances attended 713 e-scooter accidents in 2021, compared with just 392 in 2020. The number of e-scooter accident patients admitted to A&E also rose 40 per cent between 2020 and 2021 from 124 to 173.
Each ambulance call-out costs the NHS an average of £252, so the increase in e-scooter accidents has driven an increase from £98,784 spent on ambulances being called to the scene to £179,676 in one year.
The Major Trauma Group called on the Government to “take note of current holes in the regulation of e-scooters and take action to educate riders and impose equal safety standards on all e-scooter users”.
Commenting on the possibility of legalising privately owned e-scooters, AA president Edmund King said: “The Government is right to address this issue and bring in regulations rather than allowing some of our cities to be overrun like the Wild West with illegal scooters.
“Micro-mobility and e-technology can have a positive effect on movement in our cities, but we must ensure that movement is safe.”
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes added: “Legalising private e-scooters is a big step… and it’s crucial their use is regulated to ensure the safety of both riders and everyone else using the roads.”
He continued: “There is a lot for the Government to consider to give people confidence that introducing more e-scooters onto our roads can be done safely – such as how they can be kept off pavements and out of pedestrianised areas, and whether they should be covered by compulsory insurance and built to meet certain standards.”
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