ROAD safety leaders in Warwickshire are urging residents not to buy e-scooters this Christmas as the recipients could end up in trouble with the law – or worse.
Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership is reminding the public that it is currently against the law to ride a privately owned e-scooter in any public place in the UK.
Warwickshire Police has legal powers to seize e-scooters and prosecute riders – and between March 2020 and November 2021, officers seized 31 e-scooters in Warwickshire.
Insp Jem Mountford of Warwickshire Police said: “Before you consider buying an e-scooter this Christmas it’s important to know that although you can buy one, it is illegal to use a privately owned e-scooter in any public space including roads, pavements, parks, town centres or canal towpaths for example.
“This means most people will be breaking the law if they use an e-scooter.”
E-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) so they are treated as motor vehicles and subject to the same legal requirements such as MOT, licensing, tax and insurance.
As e-scooters do not have number plates, signalling ability and don’t always have visible rear lights, they can’t be used legally on the roads.
Penalties for illegal use include a Fixed Penalty Notice for no insurance, with a £300 fine and six penalty points. Officers will also be using Section 59 of the Police Reform Act to issue warnings to riders of e-scooters and educate them as to the legal requirements. If a rider is under 16 years old then this advice will also be given to the parents.
There are also concerns for the safety of e-scooter riders and other road users.
Inspector Mountford added: “As well as being illegal, we have real concerns about the safety of e-scooters. In the first ten months of 2021, nationally there have been nine deaths and other casualties involving both e-scooter riders and other road users.”
While some parts of the country are taking part in Government trials for e-scooter hire with a view to making them legal to use on the roads, Warwickshire is not currently part of the trials so e-scooters cannot be hired at this time.
Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership chair and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “We know it can be tempting to buy an e-scooter as a gift. However there simply is no public place where they can be ridden legally and you risk a fine or having the scooter seized if you do so.
“As a Partnership we want to make our roads as safe as possible for everyone, so we want people to think again and not buy e-scooters in the mistaken belief that they can be used in public spaces.
“We know they can be a hazard to pedestrians and other road users and put the rider at danger of death and serious injury when used in the wrong environment, such as on public roads, so please do consider purchasing more appropriate alternatives.”
Warwickshire County Council’s community safety spokesman Coun Wallace Redford said: “It is our priority to make sure the roads are safe for everyone and that’s why we are asking the public not to buy an e-scooter at the moment but to await the results of the UK trial.
“There are other environmentally friendly options available that we are keen to promote and support, and as part of this commitment we are looking at how we can make our town centres safer for cyclists and pedestrians.”