RAC warns against 'hasty' e-scooter legalisation


Grant Shapps has indicated that he plans to lift the ban on privately owned e-scooters, with legislation expected in the Queen's Speech in May.

It is currently illegal to use e-scooters on public highways in England, unless they are part of an official rental trial.

Mr Shapps told the Transport Select Committee: ‘In the future, I want to crack down on the illegal use on roads of non-compliant e-scooters.'

He added: ‘We will take powers to properly regulate and then be able to decide the usage of them. They’re a reality, they exist.

‘If these things exist they need to be made safe, and I think the trials have been useful in gathering data and there’s more data still to gather.’

Conservative committee member Simon Jupp said there had been 900 e-scooter collisions, of which 11 were fatal.

However, another committee member, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, described e-scooters as a ‘convenient, cheap and environmentally-friendly form of transport’, asking asked Mr Shapps when his department would 'get a move on and properly license these things”.

Mr Shapps replied: ‘I shall announce it on May 10.’

The RAC’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: ‘There’s little doubt that e-scooters have the potential to transform the way many of us move about, and potentially even cut the numbers of short journeys taken by car.’

He added: ‘Legalising private e-scooters is a big step though and it’s crucial their use is regulated to ensure the safety of both riders and everyone else using the roads.’

Mr Lyes added that it was important for the Government to take ‘learnings’ from trials and that there is a lot to consider, ‘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’.

He added: ‘The concerns of groups including those representing visually impaired people must also be taken on board, as in the wrong hands e-scooters can cause serious injury.

‘It’s also important to remember that road fatality numbers have plateaued in recent years, so it would be disastrous if a hasty decision to legalise all e-scooters led to an increase in deaths and serious injuries.’

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.’

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