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UK government urged to take e-scooter action on upcoming Transport Bill

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Lawyers, insurers, the police and a transport safety charity are warning that the upcoming Transport Bill could fail to address e-scooter dangers and insurance risks. 

Law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp hosted a roundtable meeting on 6 July titled ‘The future of e-scooter regulation: a stakeholder discussion’, with representatives agreeing on a number of calls to action.

With PACTS (The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) reporting over 900 private e-scooter accidents, the group is calling for mandatory theory tests and the lowering of the current trials speed limit from 15.5mph to 12.5mph to increase driver awareness and prevent accidents. A safe passing distance should also be established and included in the Highway Code for other road users.

As PACTS figures highlight that over 40% of riders suffered a serious head injury in accidents involving e-scooters, the panellists believe helmets should also be made mandatory.

Another area of concern is insurance. Currently, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) pays out compensation to those injured by private e-scooter accidents as riders cannot be insured due to their use being illegal on public roads.

But given their increasing popularity and the expected jump in riders following their legalisation, this situation is set to become untenable for the MIB if riders are not required to have insurance. Furthermore, without insurance for private e-scooters, this would push up insurance premiums for other road users, as risks of collision rise for everyone.

On the UK government’s decision to create a new vehicle classification for e-scooters, panellists argue a broader definition is needed to encompass new and future models. As it stands, e-scooters will be classed as low-speed, zero-emission vehicles (LZEV). But as technology improves, e-scooters may fall outside the LZEV and so will not meet proper regulatory requirements. This would likely lead to void insurance policies.

Zag Daily spoke with Ben Pepper, Bolt Burdon Kemp’s Associate Solicitor in the Accident Claims department, who said: “The stakeholders who took part in our recent panel discussion encouragingly shared similar views on the issues surrounding e-scooter regulation.

“We will be sending a recording of the discussion to the Department for Transport. Our aim is to ensure that the panellists’ suggestions are incorporated into the forthcoming legislation around e-scooters.” 

Bolt Burdon Kemp has provided full highlights of the discussion along with a list of panellists.

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