The UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, is calling for the Government to make up its mind now to drive down injuries on UK roads caused by e-scooters.
The plea comes after Department for Transport’s (DfT) latest findings in: Reported Road casualties Great Britain, annual report: 2020 revealed for the first time that there were 484 casualties involving e-scooters, of which one person was killed, 128 were seriously injured and 355 slightly injured.
These findings have come about after e-scooter firms were given the go ahead to start trials on UK streets in July 2020, sparking a rise in e-scooter usage.
The results of these pilot schemes have been delayed again and again, meaning a full review of the status of this new form of transport is yet to be established.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “By delaying yet again the results of the pilot schemes we have another Christmas looming where people will be buying and using a totally unregulated form of transport in the UK.
“The pilots were launched in July 2020 and are now not due to finish until March 2022, plus the time required after that for analysis and legislation – this has taken far too long in our opinion. In the meantime, the police should make it absolutely clear that anyone caught riding an e-scooter outside private land or a trial area will have their vehicle seized immediately.
“E-scooters may have a role to play in the future transport mix, but this can only happen once their legal status has been made completely clear and that cannot happen soon enough.”
Clarity regarding their legal status is further stressed by safety concerns revealed in a recent survey by IAM RoadSmart, which received over 1,850 responses. Indeed, the survey uncovered that the safety of pedestrians and cyclists was the most important consideration for formulating new legislation on e-scooters.
The DfT’s latest report also revealed that between 2004 and 2020, serious injuries of cyclists rose by 26% and fatalities increased by 5% However, this is because pedal cycle traffic has also risen between 2004 and 2020, at a rate faster than serious injuries.
And in the period from 2015 to 2020, an average of 2 pedal cyclists died and 83 were seriously injured per week in reported road casualties.