E Scooter London: Hire scheme

Rental e scooters will be permitted in London this month as a regulation has been introduced, which will allow a group of six London boroughs, including Ealing, to trial e-scooter hire schemes for the next 12 months.

Between 60 to 150 e-scooters will be available to rent in the participating boroughs initially; however, operators may be permitted to increase the number of scooters if they show ‘strong performance’.

This comes just months after Transport for London and London Councils announced that the companies Dott, Lime and TIER were chosen as operators to take part in this trial process. These operators were chosen on the basis of their knowledge and ability to meet safety requirements and high operating standards.

Are E Scooters Safe?

E-scooters have had a turbulent rollout as some believe that they are unsafe and can cause harm due to the speeds that some can reach as there has been accidents in the past that were caused by electric scooters. Many are still wary of the scooters due to the reputation they have gained and believe that more safety measures must be put into place before they are released at a widespread level.

However, electric scooters do offer an alternative to cars and other motor vehicles. Thee potential for low carbon transport for urban journeys and aid the sustainable recovery plan. E-scooters also create a lot less noise pollution than other forms of transport as well as being an incredibly portable mode of transport.

E Scooter London: The rules for operating an e-scooter

Transport for London (TFL) stated that safety precautions will be stricter than those that were initially set out at a national level, with a lower maximum speed, audible warning systems and front and rear lights on the electric scooter. Also, first-time riders must complete an introductory e-learning safety course before they are allowed to hire an electric scooter.

Under the current legislation, it is prohibited to ride privately owned e scooter on public roads and can only be ridden on private land. Anyone that breaks this law could potentially receive a £300 fine and six points on their driving licence. However, since 4 July 2020, local areas have been allowed to run rental e scooter trials for use on cycle lanes, roads and tracks. The trial end date has since been extended to spring 2022.

How will e-scooters impact the number of PI Claims?

E-scooters are a relatively new mode of transport and many will be unaware of the potential dangers of using these types of scooters. As with all modes of transport, there will be inherent risks that come with using them.

Rob Dempsey, PI specialist from Roythornes Solicitors, stated that ‘figures indicate around 70 injuries have arisen during the trial period so far. There are reports of people riding the scooters whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol. None of these can be a surprise and all were cited as potential risks before the trial began.’

Dempsey then went on to add that there is much confusion surrounding the legality of e-scooters in general and recommended that a more uniform national approach should be used in regards to the training, speed and parking of the scooters.

The London boroughs which will be participating in the scooter trial include Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing, the City of London, Canary Wharf, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Richmond upon Thames. Tower Hamlets is listed as a ‘ride through’ borough.