EIGHTEEN e-scooter riders have been issued with warnings during a day of action by Dorset Police.
Launched in response to increasing safety concerns surrounding the scooters, the initiative took place earlier this month.
Those handed warnings now risk being reported for traffic offences – with seizure of their e-scooter a possibility – if they are stopped riding illegally again.
E-scooters, two wheeled scooters propelled by a motor, have surged in popularity and divided public opinion in equal measure in recent months.
While official trails in Bournemouth and Poole, though the Beryl scheme, have been sanctioned by government – it is against the law to ride a privately-owned e-scooter on any public land. This includes roads, pavements, cycle lanes, beach promenades, bridleways, or any publicly accessible land such as parks and car parks.
Sergeant Rhys Griffiths said: “E-scooters have become a real issue for some local residents and complaints about improper use have increased among our communities.
“We are also seeing more people riding them as a result of the Government trials taking place.
“However, it still remains illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter on any public land including pavements, roads and promenades.
“Riders could be committing an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and, if used on the pavement, the Highway Act 1835.
“In short, unless you’ve hired the e-scooter through a Government approved trial scheme you are not allowed to ride it on public land.”
The Government announced locations throughout the UK, including Bournemouth and Poole, where e-scooter rental scheme trials are taking place. This allows individuals to hire an e-scooter from an official scheme and ride legally.
However, Dorset Police have stressed that privately owned e-scooters are not part of this trial.
Phillip Ellis, chief executive officer of Beryl, the company running the trial scheme across Bournemouth and Poole, said: “Beryl’s e-scooter scheme in Bournemouth and Poole provides the community with a green, convenient and enjoyable way for people to travel, providing a clear alternative to car journeys.
“As part of the government’s e-scooter trials, they are classed as a type of motor vehicle and require a valid driving licence, insurance and for users to abide by the rules of the road.
“All users of our service need to abide by these laws and are reminded to through safety reminders within our app as well as our terms and conditions.
“In any instance where our vehicles are being misused, Beryl reserves the right to ban the relevant people from our scheme and, where appropriate, will refer the matter to the police.
“We will continue to work with the council, police and other stakeholders to support the safe and responsible use of our vehicles.”
Sgt Griffiths said officers would continue to approach those riding e-scooters on public land, take their details and explain where they can be ridden.
Police have also warned anyone using private e-scooters on public land should stop doing so immediately, or risk being prosecuted for traffic offences and having your scooter seized.
David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: “The use of e-scooters has shot up over the last few months and I know from talking to members of the public that a lot of people are very concerned about them – particularly when they’re ridden along pavements and cycle lanes.
“I’m very pleased to see Dorset Police taking proactive steps to tell riders exactly where and how they are allowed to use their e-scooters.
“This advice is very clear and there should be no excuse for anyone riding one of these scooters illegally anywhere in our county.
“I’d also like to echo the warning given by officers that if anyone persists in using their e-scooter on public land, the device could be seized, and they could be prosecuted.”
The day of action took place on Thursday, July 1.