Following the extension of its rental e-scooter trials, the Government has been urged to introduce ‘more robust rule enforcement and safety measures’.
The trials, which got underway in July 2020
, are designed to help the Government assess the benefits of e-scooters – in particular their impact on public space, motor traffic, the environment and safety.
To date, approximately 50 towns and cities across the UK have launched e-scooter rental schemes, which were initially due to end in August this year.
However, the decision was recently made to extend them until spring 2022.
The National Accident Helpline says without putting adequate safety and rule enforcement measures in place, the trials ‘put the public at risk’
It is calling for the speed limit of the devices to be reduced from 15.5mph to 12.5mph and for other measures such as the legal requirement of helmets.
The National Accident Helpline is also raising the issue of the illegal use of privately-owned e-scooters.
It points to statistics from cycling retailer Halfords, which show sales of privately-owned e-scooters have risen by 184%.
Jonathan White, legal and compliance director of National Accident Helpline, said: “E-scooters are an attractive option in helping the nation to embrace more environmentally friendly transport options.
“However, introducing these schemes without putting adequate safety and rule enforcement measures in place puts the public at risk.
“With e-scooter trials being extended and private sales growing, we would ask that the Government rethinks its recommendation and ensures there is a legal requirement in place to wear appropriate safety protection, such as cycle helmets, when operating e-scooters. We believe the speed limit should also be reduced to 12.5mph, as is the case in Germany.
“Other new safety initiatives in the trial areas could include specific e-scooter routes or roads, usage curfews, and even artificial noise devices that issue audible alerts to pedestrians.”
There are currently no trials underway in South Yorkshire.