"Setting your children up to not get a driving licence": Councillor's warning to parents over e-scooters

A councillor has issued a warning to parents over the use of e-scooters after a rise in complaints.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 3:45 pm
E-scooters are a common sight around the UK.

This week, the Lancashire Association of Local Councils (LALC) tweeted: "Many of our parish/town councils are raising e-scooters as a major safety concern in their communities...Please report any issues to @LancsPolice."

Penwortham Councillor Ange Turner raised the issue a "serious concern" in the town, and Councillor Keith Martin, who sits on South Ribble Borough Council and Penwortham Town Council has also added his voice to concerns, issuing a warning to parents who buy their children e-scooters, saying "good luck trying to get cheaper car insurance."

>>>Click here to read what Lancashire Road Safety Partnership have to say on the matter.

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Councillor Keith Martin

He said: "They seem to be getting faster and faster. I was overtaken by one in Kingsfold Drive while driving a works van. You quite often see two children riding on a scooter too, which is not allowed.

"They're so expensive, but they're being treated as toys. If you hit someone at 20mph with one of those, it would be like being hit by a car.

"And parents need to be aware that if their children are caught with one, the children can be fined, given an ASBO or similar, and can have points put on their driving licence - even if they're too young to have one yet.

"If they have points waiting to go on a licence when they get one, then good luck trying to get cheaper car insurance!"

It is now UK law for new drivers that their licence will be revoked if they get six or more points within two years of passing their test.

Coun Martin added: "So if you're buying your 14-year-old an e-scooter, you're setting them up not to have a driving licence."

Trials

Trials of e-scooters are taking place in 32 UK cities, however, it is illegal to use an e-scooter in public unless it is rented as part of a recognised trial scheme.

Using an e-scooter on private land is legal but for public use they are classed as powered transporters, which means e-scooters are covered by the same laws that govern the use of cars and other motor vehicles.

That means it is illegal to ride them on pavements, footpaths, cycle lanes and in pedestrianised zones.

To be ridden on public roads they need to conform to the same rules as cars, with licence plates, indicators, rear lights, tax and insurance but those currently on sale don’t comply with these conditions.

Coun Martin added: "There are certain areas where they are legal, and if we had a trial in our area, I would use one to go to work, it would be ideal.

"But I think we need the right legislation, insurance, tests to regulate the scooters and lights.

"We don't want anyone getting hurt, but also we don't want to give the Government a reason to say no to them."

Injuries:

There is a growing list of incidents involving e-scooters and at least four people in the UK have died in e-scooters crashes.

In 2019, Youtuber Emily Hartridge became the first person to die following a crash while riding an e-scooter. The following year, Julian Thomas, 55, died after crashing into a parked car. In June 2021, 20-year-old Shakur Amoy Pinnock also died from injuries suffered after his e-scooter collided with a car. And this July a 16-year-old was knocked off his scooter and killed by a hit-and-run driver.

There are also reports from around the country of pedestrians being struck and injured, sometimes seriously by e-scooter riders and the National Federation of the Blind has warned that the near-silent vehicles are creating “no-go areas” for the visually impaired.

In May, a man in his 50s suffered serious head injuries after his e-scooter collided with a bicycle in Liverpool Road, Penwortham.

>>>Click here to read more about that incident.

According to an investigation by ITV’s Tonight programme there have been 1,100 complaints and 210 people have suffered injuries in incidents involving e-scooters since trials began.

Transport for London carried out a comparison between cycling and e-scooter injuries using data from the US and concluded that the rate of serious injuries was around 100 times more for e-scooter rides than cyclists.

The government advice for the current trials is for riders to wear a helmet but there is no legal requirement for them to do so.

While the rental scooters are limited to 15.5mph, those on sale to the public can reach speeds of up to 50mph.

Coun Martin has also criticised some sellers of e-scooters, particularly those who bring in scooters from abroad which are modified to run at high speeds.

He said: "None of them on their websites say that they're not legal to use on the roads in the UK over 15.5mph, that's all in small print inside the box when it arrives, and by that point it's too late."

What do Lancashire Police say?

Councillor Martin and Councillor Turner have both asked for the police to address the issue, but Coun Martin said: "It's almost impossible for the police to police it, they can just dash down alleyways and be gone."

Lancashire Police have recently taken to social media, appealing for people to keep e-scooters off the roads and footpaths.

A spokesman said: "We have been receiving numerous complaints in relation to e-scooters being ridden on roads and pavements in the area.

"Unfortunately at this time due to e-scooters being classified as light electric vehicles they are currently treated as motor vehicles and are therefore subject to the legal requirements of MOT, licensing, tax and insurance.

"Although some UK local authorities are trialing Future Transport Zones to allow use of e-scooters on the roads, Lancashire are not part of the trials. Lancashire Police do have the power to seize such vehicles so we ask that you keep your e-scooters on private land."

What are the penalties for using an e-scooter illegally?

Riders caught using an e-scooter illegally face the same punishments as other drivers breaking the law.

These include fines of up to £300 and up to six penalty points on your driving licence. Serious offences could lead to a driving disqualification and police can also impound your scooter.