On Monday 7 June e-scooters became available to rent in selected London boroughs; Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond upon Thames and Canary Wharf.
For some time e-scooters have been available to purchase but it is against the law to ride a privately owned e-scooter in a public place, such as roads and pavements. The rental scheme allows e-scooters to be ridden on public roads and cycle lanes but use on pavements is prohibited. To use an e-scooter you must be 18+ years of age and have at least a provisional driving licence. There is also a maximum speed limit of 12.5mph.
There are obvious environmental benefits to people riding e-scooters to travel and commute to work as opposed to driving cars. However, trials of e-scooters in other UK cities have not been entirely smooth. There have been several reports of antisocial behaviour and injuries to pedestrians. In May it was reported that a six-year-old boy had suffered a skull fracture after being hit by an e-scooter.
It can be argued that these incidents are small in number and mostly people have been using e-scooters in accordance with the law. However there is a danger presented to vulnerable road users, such as children and the elderly by misuse of e-scooters.
There are three operators providing rental e-scooters in London and each includes insurance cover. The insurance includes liability to third parties subject to certain conditions. This will allow individuals who have suffered injury to pursue claims for damages. There may be situations in which an e-scooter is being used without insurance. Here potentially a claim could be pursued via the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB).
It remains to be seen whether e-scooters are here to stay; there are certainly pros and cons to their use.