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e-scooters set for green light in UK but concerns mount over safety

Reports that the Government is looking to legalise the use of electric scooters in the UK have caused alarm bells among road safety campaigners.

According to a report in The Times, the Department for Transport is to press ahead with a consultation announced last March and intended to clarity the law around their use.

Speaking at the time, the Government said it plans to invest £90m in towns and cities to test transport innovation, and the review will explore regulations around new types of vehicles including e-scooters and e-cargo bike trailers.

According to The Times, e-scooters could become legal for use on pathways and public roads, opening them up to eco-conscious travellers, as already seen in places like San Francisco.

But IAM RoadSmart has warned that e-scooters and their increasing popularity will lead to many people riding them on public roads alongside bigger and faster vehicles – and will put individuals, including the scooter users themselves, in great danger.

The road safety charity said it welcomes a long-term approach to transport planning by the government, but new modes of transport need dedicated routes to be truly safe.

It added that there is an urgent need for users of e-scooters to embark on some level of basic rider training and awareness before they start.

Director of policy and research Neil Greig commented: “Electric scooters are simply not safe enough to be on our roads alongside full-size vehicles.

“Mixing with pedestrians is also potentially very unsafe in shared areas. As with cycling, the answer probably lies in dedicated safe infrastructure for vulnerable road users. Allied to that there is an urgent need for more rider training, information on protective clothing and clarification of e-scooters’ legal status.”

Greig continued: “While we welcome innovation, transport changes and trends are happening far faster than the network is developing to accommodate them.

“Another Christmas has come and gone where e-scooters have been bought in large numbers as gifts, and summer beckons, when they will be widely used. With the prospect of even more e-scooters on our roads, so the need for clarity is now even more urgent.”

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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