Cambridge’s electric scooter trial has left many people “confused” about the laws on using them, says Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
It is illegal to use a privately-owned e-cooters in public places, but you can hire one from Voi for use in a designated area of Cambridge under a trial run by the company in partnership with the Combined Authority. This is one of a number of government-authorised pilot schemes operating around the country.
PCC Darryl Preston pointed out that in such pilots schemes the scooters “are very different to the ones that you can buy from stores up and down the country”.
He explained: “They are restricted in certain areas. There are some areas where they just won’t work and of course to be able to use them you have to register with a driving licence and they are insured. Clearly that is the difference from privately-owned scooters.
“But I do understand a lot of people out there don’t really understand the law and I think it can be slightly confusing as to what you can and can not do on personally owned e-scooters.
“The general rule is, and there is lots of information on the constabulary website, they can’t be used on public roads or public places because they are motorised vehicles.
“I think it does confuse people. Better education and clever legislation needed.”
At a Cambridge City Council meeting in June, an officer from Cambridgeshire Constabulary discussed the force’s work to tackle the anti-social and illegal use of e-scooters.
The officer said there were so many e-scooters being used illegally that the police would “never be able to do anything else” if they were to confiscate them all.
Mr Preston said: “You can not use these on public roads, and the laws are the same for motorists in that you need a driving licence and insurance.
“I have been out with our road traffic police and they do enforce, but clearly they can not be everywhere and they can not do this all the time.
“I think that probably the best thing here is around education. I see lots of children on these and as a parent I’m quite horrified sometimes.
“Young people are riding these things around roads and pavements and that obviously can be quite high-risk for people.
“I think clear legislation, which the government has committed to, will also help with this.”
Shops selling e-scooters have a “duty of care” to ensure people buying them are aware of the law and the risks, Mr Preston added.
He said: “I don’t think there is one golden nugget here and ultimately I am quite open minded to the use of e-scooters, where it is safe and legal. That is the point of these pilots.”
Data would help show the advantages of e-scooter trials, which are designed to reduce the use of cars for short journeys around the city.
“The message is check it out before you get one,” said Mr Preston. “Generally speaking, you cannot ride privately-owned e-scooters on roads and public pavements.”