‘Think twice before gifting an e-scooter this Christmas’: Experts say riders are at risk of injuries, fines, and even points on their driving licence
Consumers are being urged to think twice before buying an e-scooter as a Christmas gift this year, due to the high number of accidents involving one.
In 2020, there were 484 casualties involving e-scooters, more than one every day, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Since 2018 there have also been an estimated 29 deaths linked to their use, it said.
Whilst it is not illegal to own, buy or sell an e-scooter, they can only be used on private land.
This means it is illegal to ride them on public roads, pavements and cycle lanes, unless the area is part of one of the Government trials on public e-scooter use.
E-scooters are set to be a popular Christmas gift this year, but users are warned about injuries
Despite this, many people say they have seen the devices used in public settings, with many claiming to have witnessed the causing injuries.
Some 31 per cent of people have witnessed an accident involving an e-scooter colliding with a car or pedestrian, according to data from More Than Insurance.
And another 83 per cent said they had seen e-scooters riding along the pavement, despite this not being allowed.
As a result, the ABI is encouraging people to think twice before buying one as a gift.
It said e-scooter riders were at risk of causing serious injury to themselves, other road users and pedestrians, and that users were eight times more likely to suffer a head injury than a cyclist.
There are currently no regulatory standards to govern the construction of e-scooters, or ensure their safety.
Riders can also face penalties for illegal use. They could be forced to pay a £300 fine and get six points on their driving licence if they use them on public roads or pavements, which could impact on the cost of future motor insurance.
The e-scooter could also be confiscated by the police.
Danger: Latest figures show that in 2020 there were 484 casualties involving e-scooters
Laura Hughes, ABI’s manager, general insurance, said: ‘We share the Government’s vision of a greener and more inclusive transport system.
‘But at present, used illegally on the roads and pavements, e-scooters are dangerous to their owners, other road users and pedestrians.
‘To help ensure they can reach their potential, it is essential that the Government develops robust regulations around their construction and use, so that e-scooter travel can become as safe as possible.’
E-scooters could affect your car insurance
More Than also warned drivers to be careful if operating one of the scooters, as this could have an impact on their insurance policy.
It said it was seeing an increasing number of car insurance policyholders receiving IN10 convictions from the police for driving without insurance while using a privately owned e-scooter in a public place.
IN10 convictions have to be declared to insurers and can impact the future terms of a policy, while making it more difficult and expensive to obtain insurance in the future.
Matthew Avery, chief strategic research director, Thatcham Research, added: ‘Before the mobility benefit of e-scooters can be realised, regulation is urgently required.
‘In the absence of prompt action, e-scooter travel, which could be 100 times more dangerous than riding a bicycle, will continue to present a real risk not only to users but also to pedestrians, drivers and people living with disabilities.
‘Outside of the government trials, it’s illegal to ride an e-scooter on public roads.
‘And while vital safety features are yet to be mandated by regulation, gifting an e-scooter to a loved one this Christmas could see them ending up either in the back of an ambulance or a police car.’