E-scooter hire schemes have been trialled in 50 towns and cities across the UK since July last year, but now the predicted end date of trials has been pushed back from August this year to March 2022.
A delay to the launch of a public trial in London means legislation may now not be enforced until mid-2023, raising question marks over the safety of everyone who shares public roads with the devices.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said: “To ensure we get the most comprehensive evidence from trials, including those that have started more recently, the end date for trials has been extended to 31 March 2022.”
Richard Adely, CEO of e-scooter manufacturer Taur, told The Times: “[the Government’s] dithering and delay has allowed more and more unregulated and out-of-control scooters to proliferate on streets, risking the life and limb of pedestrians and other road users.”
But the extension comes following the publication of some worrying figures. In a reply seen by PA Media Group, Norfolk Constabulary listed 120 e-scooter related reports including assaults, burglaries, anti-social behaviour and traffic offences.
A further Freedom of Information Request (FOI) by the Daily Mail revealed that Scotland Yard recorded more than 200 incidents last year, while Merseyside Police recorded more than 100.
It’s thought private e-scooters – only legal on private land with a landowner’s consent – are responsible for the bulk of the offences, and are still commonly being used on UK roads.
A DfT spokeswoman said: “We know there have been a minority of instances were e-scooters have been misused,” but she assured the public that “feedback from these trials will help us determine the pros and cons of e-scooter use on public roads”.
Meanwhile, the sister of a six-year old boy who suffered a serious injury from being hit by an e-scooter ridden by a 17-year-old has called on the government to ban those under 21 from using the devices.
Campaigns for the Birmingham trial to end due to the risk discarded devices carry for blind people, also highlighted the impact of e-scooters on those with disabilities.
It’s currently only legal to use e-scooters on public roads when they’re rented out from licenced hire schemes in trial cities, at a speed limit of 15.5mph, on roads that allow cyclists and ridden by those over the age of 16.
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