Electric scooters (e-scooters)
E-scooters are rising in popularity, but how can they be used safely in the UK?
E-scooters are rising in popularity across Europe as people seek alternatives to travelling by car to reduce carbon emissions, have better mobility around congested cities and save money. They are currently illegal to use on UK roads, pavements and footpaths; in fact, at present they can only be used on private land in the UK although this may change.
Despite looking much like a standard two-wheeled scooter, e-scooters have been fitted with rechargeable batteries to make them electrified and can travel at speeds of up to 15mph.
Despite the benefits their use brings, an estimated 1,500 people in the USA have sustained an e-scooter-related injury and since late 2017, eight people there have died whilst riding a “sharing scheme” e-scooter. A similar picture may emerge if e-scooters were to be allowed on UK roads. One death has already been recorded in London.
If e-scooters were to be allowed on the highway in the UK, there would need to be a sensible balance (as with cycling) between safety considerations and mandatory safety equipment, with users being encouraged to pledge to ride safely while also restricting their use to designated areas.
In countries where e-scooters are already used widely, various approaches are being taken to address safety, including encouraging users to ride e-scooters safely and wear a helmet, introducing a minimum age for users and restricting the use of e-scooters to cycle lanes and roads.
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