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CRITICISM OF E-SCOOTER SAFETY MOUNTS

IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, is calling for the government to make up its mind on how to drive down injuries on UK roads caused by controvertial and often illegal step e-scooters.

The plea comes after the Department for Transport’s latest findings in its annual ducument Reported Road Casualties Great Britain for 2020. This 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 come after e-scooter firms were given the green light to start trials on UK streets in July 2020, sparking a surge in e-scooter usage. This decision was made in light of COVID-19 and social distancing regulations, which meant people needed to get around without resorting to buses and trains.

However, the results of these pilot schemes have been delayed repeatedly, meaning a full review of the status of this new form of transport is yet to be established.

IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research Neil Greig 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 the 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.”

The need to clarify their legal status is further stressed by safety concerns revealed in a recent survey by IAM RoadSmart, which received more than 1850 responses. This found that the safety of pedestrians and cyclists was the most important consideration (94%) for formulating new legislation on e-scooters.

 

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