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MPs call for legalisation of e-scooters

06 October 2020

MPs have called on the government to legalise e-scooters in the UK and advertise them to car drivers as a greener alternative for short journeys.

The cross-party Commons Transport Select Committee said the e-scooters, which are currently being trialled on a regional basis but are not yet legal across the UK, should be allowed on public roads.

It also called for robust enforcement to stop people using them on pavements, which they said was dangerous and antisocial, and an impediment to pedestrians and disabled people.

The Committee recommended that privately owned e-scooters should also be permitted, and called on the Department for Transport to encourage their use as an alternative to short car journeys. It cautioned that it would be counterproductive if people switched from more active and healthy forms of travel such as cycling and walking.

The AA backed the call for e-scooters to be legalised but said there should be a national speed limit. It said the safest option would be for the vehicles to use cycle paths and for users to be trained before going on public highways.

DR UK’s Head of  Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “We agree with other disability organisations, especially those representing people with visual impairments, that e-scooters pose a significant risk to disabled people.

“Their speed and silence, coupled with non-disabled people’s general ignorance about the fact they share roads and pavements with people who cannot always hear or see them coming, or move out of the way, is a massive cause for concern.

“We have seen little in the public discourse about the legalisation of these e-scooters about embedding consideration and a strong sense of personal responsibility about how to use them in their users. We also have concerns about the ‘rock up and ride’ approach to hire schemes, where they can be left wherever the user fancies. We know that with bike hire schemes such as Lime, bikes are left in the middle of pavements causing obstructions and trip hazards to people with mobility and visual impairments.

“Government, manufacturers and hire schemes must be clear at point of sale, hire and use, that users recognise the risks they pose to others when using e-scooters.”