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E-scooters could be legalised

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The transport secretary has said he will crack down on illegal scooters as he hints legislation could be brought in to legalise them as soon as next month.

Grant Shapps told the commons transport committee that 30+ e-scooter trials across the country have been very successful, estimating that around 10 million miles had been covered.

While no fatalities had been reported as part of the trials, generally, 900 collisions involving e-scooters have been recorded, including 11 fatalities.

Shapps said as part of the trials they have “proper standards”, so lighting, indicators, registrations and licences are required.

“That isn’t the case where they’re being sold privately and what I want to do – and will do – is crack down on some of the e-scooters that are being sold privately that are sub-standard, can be tampered with without necessarily breaking the law, and don’t have the required lighting, and sometimes are built to the wrong power”, he said.

Shapps explained to the committee that the government will take powers – which don’t exist at the moment because e-scooters aren’t a category of transport to properly regulate them – to crack down on non-compliant e-scooters “which sometimes are quite simply dangerous in my view and are not up to standard and spec”.

He added: “The first thing to do is to set standards; how powerful, fast, indicators, lights at night. The second thing to do is to hold retailers accountable, make it an offence to sell them, an offence to tamper with them – none of these things exist at the moment.”

Once a category has been brought in which describes e-scooters, the government can then legislate to restrict or enable their use.

When asked when the UK will licence e-scooters which are used in other countries and which offer an environmentally-friendly mode of transport, Shapps said: “10 May [the Queen’s Speech]. I believe we need to crack down on the poor standards and inability to control them and sometimes when used in the wrong way or dangerously, and enable their use where responsible.”

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 over-run 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.”