Should there be speed restrictions and compulsory safety helmets for e-scooter users?

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The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) recently called for mandatory speed restrictions on e-scooters and for e-scooter riders to wear safety helmets as part of a consultation into their use.

APIL’s demands come as the numbers of e-scooter accidents increases, some of which have tragically led to fatalities. This includes the death of Nottinghamshire grandmother Linda Davis earlier this year, who very sadly was the first pedestrian to lose their life as a result of an e-scooter accident earlier this year.

John McQuater, president of APIL, said:

“The number of e-scooter collisions has already shot up by 181% in a year and we’ve not even had an influx of the privately-owned ones yet.

“These forward-thinking measures could go a long way to preventing needless, and sometimes life-changing, injuries and deaths.

“E-scooters in the rental schemes are limited to a top speed of 12.5mph. This should be the same for ones owned privately. It also needs to be a requirement to wear a helmet. Head injuries, along with broken bones, are the most common types of injuries in e-scooter collisions.”

The Government is considering making privately-owned e-scooters legal to use in public areas, as currently they can only be ridden on private land with the consent of the landowner.

In the meantime, many UK cities are conducting e-scooter trials where e-scooters can be hired and used on UK roads and cycle paths, but not used on pavements.

E-scooters and the law

In addition to APIL’s call for increased regulation, the Association for Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO) has published a report about the future of e-scooters in the UK.

The report highlights the need for clearer, stronger regulation of e-scooters. Privately-owned e-scooters which are not part of the government’s official rental scheme trials are currently illegal to use in public, but the report acknowledges that many thousands of people currently still do so, and this is unlikely to change.

The resulting legal ‘grey area’ means that it is difficult to enforce existing e-scooter regulations. It also makes it harder for people who have been injured by privately-owned e-scooters to claim compensation, as the scooters are unlikely to be insured.

Despite concerns, the report also emphasises the many benefits of using e-scooters. It acknowledges that their popularity is something that should be encouraged for environmental and mobility reasons and raises concerns that over-regulation of e-scooters might stop people from riding them.

E-scooter safety recommendations

ACSO’s report concludes that e-scooters should be legalised and joins APIL in recommending legislation to promote improved e-scooter safety. These include:

  • Compulsory speed limits. Current rental schemes already have 15.5mph speed limits, but both organisations believe that this should be legally enshrined.
  • Safety gear, including mandatory helmet wearing. ACSO also recommends minimum construction standards, plus headlamps (already mandatory for cyclists) and indicators.
  • A compulsory minimum rider age of 16, tied in to driving laws.

ACSO also raises the necessity of e-scooters being registered and insured to ensure that justice and compensation can be more easily secured in the event of accidents. It recommends that data about e-scooters and their usage should be collected and published to inform future policy and safety decisions.

E-scooter safety advice

Louise Gardner is a specialist personal injury solicitor based in our Swindon team. She says:

“We fully agree with APIL and ACSO’s e-scooter safety recommendation and welcome their insights into the use of e-scooters and the need for improved regulation.

“The growth in e-scooter usage is a positive for many reasons, but e-scooters can only truly live up to their potential if they are properly regulated. Safety rules for e-scooter users as well as other road users and pedestrians should be enforced, but so should steps that ensure that justice can be appropriately dealt in the event of an accident.”

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving an e-scooter that wasn’t your fault, Novum Law’s team of specialist personal injury solicitors might be able to help on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. To find out more, contact us on Freephone 0800 884 0777, email or complete our online form for a free, no obligation chat.

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