Victims of accidents involving illegally ridden e-scooters face an unnecessarily arduous battle for compensation, according to a report calling for legalisation and regulation for the battery-powered vehicles.
The Association of Consumer Support Organisations, whose members include prominent PI law firms as well as lobby group Cycling UK, says that privately owned escooters 'will be part of the make-up of British roads for the foreseeable future and we should not pretend otherwise'. Road use should therefore be legalised, but with riders required to wear helmets and hold at least third-party insurance.
However the body notes that such regulations may reduce the desirability of e-scooters - proving just as difficult to enforce as the current situation of illegal riding.
Today, the report states, only about 20,000 of the million or more e-scooters in the UK are operated through hire schemes - their only legal use on public roads. However the illegality of private e-scooters does not prevent claims being made by riders who are themselves injured by another road user’s failure to take reasonable care.
Riders themselves are disproportionately at risk, the report states, thanks to the scooters popularity 'with the young, the unlicensed and the uninsured'. However 'legalisation and regulation would improve the current situation whereby hundreds of thousands of people flout the law daily and put other road users at risk of harm'.
The report’s proposals include expanding the current hire schemes; collecting and publishing more safety data; building more cycle lanes to accommodate e-scooters; devising a system of registration, and setting a minimum age of 16 years for riders as well as a maximum speed of 15.5 miles per hour.
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