A teenaged e-scooter rider has been banned from the road for two years after knocking down a six-year-old boy, leaving him with a fractured skull and bruises.
Jamie Smith was knocked down on the pavement outside his home in Elston Fields, Leicester, last year by the scooter travelling at 25mph.
The then 16-year-old rider fled the scene, leaving Jamie, who had been heading out to buy sweets, unconscious on the ground.
Jamie was rushed to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham where he was treated for a fractured skull and multiple cuts and bruises.
Despite suffering life-threatening injuries, Jamie recovered but his family say he is still traumatised by the incident and suffers memory loss.
He is now ‘petrified’ of the outside world and was unable to look at his own reflection for weeks.
Jamie Smith (pictured) was knocked down on the pavement outside his home in Elston Fields, Leicester, last year by an e-scooter travelling at 25mph
The culprit, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was identified after an appeal by Jamie’s family and pleaded guilty to causing a serious injury by dangerous driving at Leicester Youth Court.
He also admitted failing to stop after a road traffic collision, or report it to police, and using a motor vehicle without insurance, a valid MOT certificate, or a licence.
He was sentenced to a 12-month referral order on Monday and banned from driving any vehicle for two years.
After the teenager’s guilty pleas, Jamie’s devastated family released pictures of his wounds in a bid to warn others of the dangers of misusing electric scooters.
His sister, Brooklyn Smith, 21, said: ‘Our hearts broke when we found out Jamie had been knocked over, physically and mentally we were heartbroken, and in a state of complete panic and anger.
‘The hardest part was hearing of the injuries he sustained including a fractured skull. It took him six weeks after the incident to even look in a mirror because his own reflection genuinely frightened him and he didn’t recognise his own face, which was heart-breaking to see.
‘My younger sister, who is eight years old, was sat in my dad’s car and was forced to see what happened – and she couldn’t do anything.
Jamie’s devastated family released pictures of his wounds
‘Jamie still can’t comprehend why someone would do this to him. Accident or not this has potentially ruined my baby brother’s life and the boy who did this has shown no remorse whatsoever.
‘Since the incident Jamie has had quite bad memory loss, nightmares and an irrational fear of the outside world.
‘He over thinks everything in the worst possible scenario and has a constant fear regardless of where he is.
‘Jamie has also been out of school which has impacted his learning and concentration massively. He isn’t able to be a child anymore.
‘This one incident has put a huge wrecking ball in his life and it’s not just affected his face and body it’s affected his trust, his friendships and almost every aspect of his life and it is heart-breaking to see.
‘A six year old boy shouldn’t have to live with what he is living with, the scars may have faded but to him and us it’s still very fresh in our minds.
‘We as a family just want to wrap him up in cotton wool and we’d never wish for this to happen to anyone, let alone a poor defenceless little boy. We are broken.’
The incident took place in August last year.
Michael Cone, prosecuting, told the court Jamie – known affectionately as ‘Junior’ – was preparing to go to a shop with his father and sister to purchase treats for a family film evening.
CCTV footage played in court showed the scooter speeding down the road before ploughing into the youngster when he stepped onto the pavement.
Mr Cone said: ‘Jamie is knocked unconscious. The defendant, who is knocked off his scooter, then simply picks it up and rides away.
‘He does not check to see if Jamie is ok, leave his details, or report it to the police later.’
The hearing was told the scooter had a top speed of 27mph and had been bought for the teenager by a grandparent.
Jamie – known affectionately as ‘Junior’ – was preparing to go to a shop with his father and sister to purchase treats for a family film evening
Mr Cone added: ‘It is classified as a vehicle that requires a MOT and the rider must have an appropriate licence and insurance.
‘He knew it was not road legal and should not have been ridden in public.’
Mark Hussain, defending, said the scooter was ‘easily available to buy on the internet’.
What is the law on riding electric scooters in the UK?
E-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), which means they are subject to all the same legal requirements including MOT, tax and licensing.
According to the Department of Transport, it is illegal to ride privately-owned electric scooters on the pavement, roads and cycle paths.
You can only ride your own e-scooter on private land, with permission from the person who owns the land.
Privately-owned e-scooters cannot be legally ridden on the roads because they don’t always have visible rear red lights, number plates or signal ability
Riding rental e-scooters on the roads and cycle paths became legal in the UK on July 4 last year but they are still illegal to ride on the motorway.
Riding these scooters on pavements will also remain illegal and will only be allowed in pre-approved locations where the hiring scheme is taking place.
E-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), which means they are subject to all the same legal requirements including MOT, tax and licensing
You must have a driving licence or a provisional driving licence and be at least 16 years old to hire an electric scooter.
They will be limited to a maximum speed of 15.5mph.
E-scooter riders caught flouting the law could face a Fixed Penalty Notice for riding with no insurance, with a £300 fine and six penalty points.
Riders could also be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for driving without a licence, up to £100 fine and three-six penalty points.
The Government is currently conducting a trial of electric, or e-scooter, rental fleets in cities across the country with a view to legalisation.
Milton Keynes and Birmingham have successfully launched the scheme and last year York City Council announced it was working with Tier Mobility to deploy 50 e-scooters in the city.
In Coventry the scheme was axed after just five days when riders flouted rules by mounting pavements.
Another pilot in Hartlepool was scrapped before it even got started.
Up to 36 towns and cities have signed up to the Department for Transport’s 12-month scheme, which makes it legal to ride e-scooters on roads – however, they need to be rented and need to be capped at 15.5mph.
He said the teenager’s grandparent had ‘seen so many people riding them around’, and claimed she spoke to a police officer, who told her it was to ride on the pavement.
Mr Hussain added: ‘The scooter doesn’t have a speedometer so he did not know the speed he was doing.
‘He told me the child’s father came out and became very angry. He feared what would happen so he got back on the scooter and went home.
‘There was no intention, it was accidental. He hasn’t had the ability to say sorry.’
District Judge Nicholas Watson, sentencing, said police estimated the scooter was being ridden at 25mph when it struck Jamie.
He ordered the boy, now 17, to pay a victim surcharge of £22 and costs of £85, and said: ‘They are a motor vehicle, and people riding them have to have licences and obey other laws.
‘The fact many people ignore the law, or may not be aware of it, is no excuse.
‘I accept this is not a case where you intended to cause him harm, and he stepped out in front of you. But he is entitled to be on the pavement.
‘You came very close to going to detention today.’
PC Kieran Dempsey, of Leicestershire Roads Policing Unit, said: ‘As this case has demonstrated, electric scooters are dangerous vehicles in the wrong hands and are currently illegal to use both on the road and in public areas in Leicestershire.
‘Jamie was left with significant injuries which were initially believed to be life threatening. Thankfully he has made a physical recovery but it was an extremely difficult time for him and his family.
‘In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland it is illegal to use an electric scooter on a public highway. The government is currently running trials of electric scooters, however this trial is not taking place in the Leicestershire force area.
‘If you use an e-scooter illegally you could face a fine, get penalty points on your licence, and the e-scooter could be impounded. If your actions result in someone being injured, as in this case, you could face prosecution.’
The government is currently trialling rental e-scooters in more than 40 towns and cities across England as it assesses their safety and whether they reduce traffic.
Riders need to have a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence, and have been urged to wear a helmet.
Only rental e-scooters are allowed on roads, and they are limited to 15.5mph.
Privately-owned e-scooters cannot be used on the UK’s roads – one of the last countries in Europe where this is the case – due to their classification as a motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Motor vehicles are required to have number plates, with users needing to have a driver’s licence, insurance and wear a helmet.
In October, MPs recommended that e-scooters should be legalised in the UK within 18 months to help make cities greener.
A consultation by parliament’s transport committee found the vehicles could be an effective way to cut car journeys and clean up the air.
But the MPs said e-scooters should remain banned from pavements for pedestrian safety.