Regulated trials of rental e-scooters have been operating in the UK since July 2020. Private e-scooters, however, remain illegal to use on public roads and in public spaces. Should their use be legalised, PACTS wants to regulations to include safety measures to protect the riders and other road users. PACTS Executive Director, David Davies, sent a letter to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, with a responsibility for the future of transport, Trudy Harrison MP, drawing together evidence-based recommendations for the construction and use of private e-scooters.
The Minister replied thanking PACTS and welcoming further engagement with the Department for Transport.
PACTS’ recommendations have been prepared with the expertise of our team of project partners which includes the police, NHS trauma specialists, insurance companies, solicitors, the bicycle industry and others. The recommendations are presented as a package covering the speed of an e-scooter, design and rider behaviour.
Our recommendations are:
• Maximum possible top speed of between 10mph-12.5mph (16-20km/h)
• Maximum continuous rated motor power 250 W
• Anti-tampering mechanisms should be included in construction. Tampering should be prohibited by law
Safe Vehicle Design
• Maximum unladen weight of 20kg
• Minimum front wheel size of 12 inches (30.5cm) and minimum rear wheel size of 10 inches (25.5cm)
• Two independently controlled braking devices, one acting on the front wheel and one acting on the rear wheel
• Lighting to be mandatory at all times
• An audible warning device to be mandatory
Safe User Behaviour
• Helmet wearing to be mandatory
• Rider age limit of at least 16 years
• Riding on the footway (pavement) or footpath to be prohibited
• Carrying of a passenger to be prohibited
• Drink driving, dangerous or careless riding, and mobile phone use to be prohibited
• In-person rider training is recommended
Current road traffic law regarding drink driving, dangerous or careless riding, and mobile phone use should continue to apply to private e-scooters. This could be enforced through regulating e-scooters as motor vehicles, therefore enabling enforcement to be under the existing legislation. (If not, these extensive provisions would need to be written into new laws.)
Our secondary recommendations are therefore:
• e-scooters should be regulated as motor vehicles
• Public liability insurance for riders is recommended
• The rider should inform the police if there is a collision involving an injury
The DfT will need to decide how much regulation and cost can be realistically imposed.
PACTS has sent these recommendations to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, with a responsibility for the future of transport, Trudy Harrison MP, and asked for further research to be carried out. Given the number of e-scooter casualties and the nature of their injuries, PACTS are asking that the Department for Transport
• begins immediately to gather data on private e-scooter use to enable a broader understanding, including casualty rates, and commits to publishing data alongside the evaluations of the rental trials,
• carries out an in-depth study of the causes of the fatal and most serious casualty collisions involving all e-scooters to date and commits to publishing the findings and,
• captures, in STATS19 data collection, how many users of e-scooters, and other PPTDs, were wearing head protection.
Interim report – ‘The safety of private e-scooters’ Interim report from PACTS
Letter about interim report and reply – The safety of private e-scooters – PACTS letter to Trudy Harrison MP
Letter about e-scooters still being illegal and reply – PACTS calls on minister to remind retailers and public – using a private e-scooter is illegal in UK