There is strong support amongst British citizens to address the lack of regulation for electric scooters, polling released today by the Major Trauma Group shows. The data, which has been published during Road Safety Week, comes following the accelerated rollout of rental electric scooters across the UK since July this year.
The survey of British citizens has found that 60 per cent of people believe that electric scooter users should have a full driving license, with 70 per cent calling for at least a provisional. Eight out of ten people believe helmets should be mandatory, rising to 90 per cent for the over 55s. There is currently no legal requirement for electric scooter riders to have a driving licence or wear a helmet.
Importantly, seven out of ten people are also calling for mandatory motor insurance for riders. Typically, rehabilitation for victims following a road accident is funded through the insurance of the guilty party. Insurance is not currently a requirement for electric scooter users. This will lead to accident victims having to independently pay for years of expensive rehabilitation should a crash occur, or rely on an already over-stretched NHS.
Generally, more people feel pedestrians, cyclists and drivers will be more unsafe rather than safe with electric scooters on the road – though a small majority believe they are safe to ride. Perhaps unsurprisingly, younger people are more likely than older people to perceive electric scooters as safe, and men are more likely than women to see electric scooters as safe or very safe.
Trevor Sterling, Chair of the Major Trauma Group, said:
“As an advocate of electric scooters, the Major Trauma Group would truly like to see these vehicles on British roads, but this cannot come at the cost of rider, or other road user and pedestrian, safety.
“From a lack of insurance and competency tests, to no compulsory measures for riders to wear helmets, use headlights or reflective clothing during these dark evenings, there are serious safety issues around the use of electric scooters on British roads. This is exacerbated by the fact that electric scooters do not make any noise and as a result do not warn pedestrians they are approaching.
“The introduction of compulsory safety measures would protect riders and other road users. Currently, without appropriate regulation, there is a significant risk of serious injury occurring and no insurance protection for individuals involved in accidents.
“This week marks Road Safety Week, with a particular focus on speed. As we work on the Government to regulate these vehicles on our roads, we also want to ask users of electric scooters to be extra vigilant and lower their speed.”