James Bladen, 41, was stopped by police officer minutes into his journey and was informed it is illegal to drive on e-scooters anywhere but on private land in Wales, unless they are being driven as part of a trial. He was then fined, a decision the dad described as “mental”.
The penalty is more than double James’ monthly amount of Universal Credit payments. In addition to the fine, six points may get put on James’ provisional driving licence.
On the day in question in May, the father slept through his alarm and rushed when he realised he was late for his doctor’s appointment, Wales Online says.
His 17-year-old son, Tionree, suggested his dad borrowed the £400 e-scooter – which James bought him as a gift – to get to his appointment a couple of miles away in Ely, Cardiff.
But James had never ridden an e-scooter before and was stopped by officers just around the corner from his home in the Pentrebane area of the city.
James, who has just starting driving lessons, said: “It’s an absolute joke I feel like I’m being made a scapegoat. I live on my own with my son and get £500 a month to pay all the bills and look after him and the dog.
“I was panicking that I was going to miss my appointment and Tionree said to take the e-scooter. I had no idea they were illegal or I wouldn’t have got on it.
“When the police called me over, the way they were acting I thought they mistook me for a burglar or that I’d stolen the scooter or something.
“They said I was riding it without insurance and they took it off me. I walked away from the scene a bit angry and was my son was gutted when I told him.”
E-scooters are defined as “powered transporters” by the UK government and South Wales Police has recently been warning people that riding them on public roads or pavements could land them fines, points on their licence and confiscation of the vehicles if they are caught operating them illegally.
James says he was unaware of this and he is now challenging the order through his solicitor.
He was told he must stump up the cash within 30 days or risk facing court action.
He added: “I bought the scooter on finance for my son and it’s now been destroyed and I’m still paying it off.
“A scooter is a scooter at the end of the day, it’s environmentally friendly and I don’t see how it’s a problem as long as you’re not going mental on it.
“I felt really down, depressed and I couldn’t sleep. There’s no way I can pay that it seems extortionate.”
A spokesperson for South Wales Police said E-scooters are only legal to ride on private land with the landowner’s permission, or as part of a government trial – which is not taking place in South Wales.