Organisations are calling on the Government to improve safety (Picture: Ernest Ojeh on Unsplash)

Legalise e-scooters to improve safety, say campaigners 

Private-use e-scooters should be legalised to help ‘dramatically’ improve safety, according to a group of campaigners.

A coalition of nine transport organisations have joined forces to urge the UK Government to accelerate plans for e-scooter legislation for a new class of light electric vehicles. 

The organisations, which include shared transport charity CoMoUK, retailer Pure Electric, and the London Cycling Campaign, have argued that updated legislation would ensure scooters are subject to higher safety standards. 

Currently privately-owned electric scooters are not allowed on public roads unless the rider has taxed and insured the vehicle.

A number of shared transport trials are currently taking place across the country, as the Government was initially expected to update e-scooter legislation early this year.

However, with a number of trial scooter schemes being extended until November, it is unclear if or when electric scooters could be legalised on the roads. 

The full a letter addressed to the UK Government, co-signed by the nine transport organisations, says: 

We the undersigned ask the Government to bring forward legislation that would create a new powered light vehicle class in the UK.

This would include defining e-scooters in ownership or rental to a high standard of safety as well as building in future capacity for the UK to avail itself of innovative new micromobility options on two and more wheels.

It would end the dangerous position we have currently, where at least hundreds of thousands of entirely unregulated e-scooters are (when ridden on public highway) in illegal use, yet where we have no committed plan to deal with this.

We make this call for these reasons:

  • Safety. As our laws do not define and therefore recognise e-scooters, for e-scooters outside rental trials we have no standards for critical aspects such as their top speed, acceleration, braking, lighting, weight distribution. The same applies to rider training and behaviour.
  • Lowering transport emissions, improving air quality, cutting congestion, repurposing street space away from cars. Transport is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK; its emissions have not fallen for a generation.
  • Growing clean jobs. By not having a definition of e-scooters and other future powered micromobility options, our country is closed to the significant future jobs growth, R and D spend and low carbon transport opportunities that other countries have.
  • Alignment. The UK is the only developed nation without either legalisation or a plan for it.  

The e-scooter trials have proven to be highly popular, with over 15 million rides since summer 2020; now is the time to seize the low carbon opportunity legislation would give the UK.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Dilks, Chief Executive, CoMoUK

Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive, London Cycling Campaign

Adam Norris, Founder, Pure Electric

Leo Murray, Director of Innovation, Possible

Rob Whitehead, Director of Strategic Development, Centre for London

John Fox, Programme Director, Micromobility, WMG at the University of Warwick

Robert Evans, CEO, Cenex

Richard Adey, CEO, Taur

Trevor Sterling, Senior Partner, Moore Barlow Lawyers & Chair, Major Trauma Group

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