Tighter regulation needed to encourage e-scooter use, claim insurance groups

E-scooters need to be more tightly regulated in order to encourage their use in the UK, according to a collection of insurance groups. 

A number of insurance organisations have written to the Government to reiterate their support of sustainable transport methods like electric scooters, but have also set out a number of safety concerns. 

The insurance groups – including the International Underwriting Association of London (IUA) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) – said that e-scooters should be subject to an insurance requirement or related contribution if motorists could be liable in the case of incidents.

Chris Jones, director of legal and market services at the IUA, said: “Illegal use of e-scooters currently presents a significant risk to riders, pedestrians, and other road users. It is essential that an appropriate and effective regulatory system is introduced at the earliest opportunity.”  

The joint letter, address to secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps, was co-signed by the IUA, the ABI, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), and the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA), and calls for:

  • No liabilities fall onto the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) and premium-paying motorists without a corresponding insurance requirement for e-scooters, or some form of contribution towards the MIB’s liabilities from users of e-scooters and related vehicles.  
  • Effective enforcement where e-scooters are used illegally in Great Britain, including in respect of civil and criminal liability. 
  • There is absolute certainty as to how and where e-scooters may be used in Great Britain, whether that be part of a rental scheme or privately. 
  • There are coherent standards in respect of e-scooter construction and safety equipment, including standards on batteries and charging, braking and lighting, and whether protective equipment is mandated.  

Further recommendations include:

  • Data from the current Government trials is shared with relevant stakeholders. 
  • The experience of other countries that have de-regulated the use of e-scooters is considered. 
  • A review of regulations on the sale of e-scooters to ensure that sellers and manufacturers clearly set out to buyers their legal responsibilities arising from their use. 
  • The broader impacts of e-scooters are considered, for example insurers are concerned about the fire risk that lithium batteries pose and there is a need for regulation to be developed around how they can be safely transported and stored within properties (both residential and commercial). Consideration should also be given to how  e-scooters should be parked appropriately to ensure they do not become a hazard to homeowners, employees, pedestrians and road users alike.  

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI said: “The insurance industry is committed to working with Government to ensure e-scooter regulation strikes the right balance between ensuring public safety on the one hand and encouraging innovative approaches to transport on the other.” 

Read more: HumanForest expands e-bikes to Hammersmith and Fulham 

Executive director of BIBA, Graeme Trudgill said: “BIBA supports the introduction of new green and financially economical forms of mobility, however for Government to legalise e-scooters in a responsible way, they need to bring forward robust regulations and effective enforcement.” 

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