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PACTS calls for more rigorous data collection and analysis following DfT’s evaluation of e-scooter trials

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has written to Jesse Norman MP, the Minister of State in the Department for Transport (DfT).

The letter follows PACTS’ review of the DfT’s national evaluation of e-scooter trials report, which was published in December.

Rental e-scooters were introduced in England in July 2020, during the global pandemic. 

Safety priorities then were primarily related to preventing transmission of the Covid-19 virus, but safety from injury due to a collision applied just as much then as it does now.

Nearly three years on, PACTS believe there should be plenty of data to inform an understanding of how safe e-scooters are for riders and other road users.

However, PACTS says there are still a number of “key questions” following the report.

  • How safe are e-scooters?
  • What are the safety outcomes for different speed limits?
  • Were riders at greater risk of harm in a collision when they used a rental e-scooter rather than an alternative mode of transport?
  • Are other road users being injured?

The report found most users “reported feeling safe on e-scooters” but considered them less safe than all other modes of transport, “with the exception of mopeds and motorcycles”. When looking for quantitative data the report notes that “gathering reliable safety data was a challenge.”

PACTS’ letter to Jesse Norman MP focuses on several areas including: construction, speed, user behaviour, perception of safety, casualty data, implications for other road users, contracts and future legislation, and mode shift.

To conclude the letter, PACTS called on Norman to improve data collection and analysis so that more can be learned, with a focus on working with operators to further understand safety outcomes.

This includes assessments of the impact of enhanced safety measures implemented in April last year such as lower speed limits for new riders, a minimum mandatory level of training, encouraging the use of helmets and improved accountability of riders.

PACTS described information on private e-scooters as “inadequate” and has asked for more data and analysis so that regulations for all e-scooters can be drawn up

Read more: London’s first inclusive cycling centre opens in Olympic park 

A spokesperson for PACTS added: “It is clear that the rental trials have been an opportunity to carry out a detailed study of e-scooter use.

“Having started with 37 scooters in July 2020. 23,000 were available in December 2021. Over 18 months, across 32 trial areas in England 14.5 million rides were made by 1.4 million users.

“There has been nearly eighteen months’ worth of data since the end of 2021 and a year of data still to collect until the trial ends in May 2024. There is the potential to make well-informed decisions on future legislation. PACTS is concerned that unless more rigorous data collection is introduced that opportunity will be missed.”

The letter can be read in full by clicking here

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