Can you claim for personal injury if you are involved in an accident?
Up until 2019 the use of e-scooters was not allowed, but then in the general election this began to change, and electric scooters were seen as one of the solutions for the congestion on the roads. Unfortunately, the pandemic has had a major impact on the introduction of e-scooters.
The Government is looking into the use of e-scooters as a way for people to get to work whilst avoiding public transport. Rental trials have been introduced by the Government, and there are currently around 50 in place. It is said if the scheme is successful e-scooters could become permanent on the roads.
Now it is recorded that there are over 1000’s e-scooters on the road, many illegally.
Are E-Scooters Legal or Not?
It is not illegal to buy one, but you can only use it on private land, with the landowner's permission. It is not permitted to use an e-scooter on public roads in most parts of the UK.
As of July 2002, the e-scooters are legal on road in very limited circumstances such as the approved areas running the rental schemes trials.
E-scooters are classed as “powered transporters”, meaning they are treated in the same way as a motor vehicle and subject to the same laws. E-scooters should have licence plates, MOT, Tax, indicators, rear brake lights, and insurance and you also require a driving licence.
If you are caught by the Police riding an e-scooter on the road you could be subject to a fine of up to £1000.00 and six points on your licence or ultimately a disqualification from driving. An E-Scooter rider in Cumberland was caught by the Police whilst under the influence of alcohol and was fined and banned from driving for 40 months.
With the Government wanting to increase the rental schemes it will no doubt raise awareness of e-scooters, and more than likely people purchase their own, so with more e-scooters on the road, there will be more risk. E-scooters are heavy machines traveling at speed, and the potential for injury to riders and pedestrians is considerable.
What are the Risks of riding an E-Scooter?
However, with every form of transport comes the risk of having an accident and sustaining injuries. Certain issues make e-scooter riders vulnerable:
- Like cyclists they do not have much protection should there be involved in an accident.
- E-scooter riders and likely to have no experience in riding such a vehicle, unlike a cyclist which many people have used from an early age. There is no rest of competency before using an e-scooter, unlike other vehicles with motors, where a test usually needs to be taken before use.
- E-scooters generally have smaller wheels than cycles and even small potholes in the road could cause serious issues.
- The motorist may not be aware of or be looking out for fast-moving e-scooters riders as they drive, many do not have indicators and the scooters could be unstable if the driver just had one hand whilst the rider signals with the other.
E-scooter in the News
As the use of e-scooters increases more news stories involving e-scooters accidents and injuries are reported. In 2019 the first death was reported following a crash whilst riding an e-scooter, since then the figures from the Department of Transport show that more e-scooters used have been killed and a further 729 were injured in the year June 2021.
In addition to the above, there have been growing reports of pedestrians being injured by e-scooters, some suffering serious injuries. Furthermore, there have been reports of e-scooters being left on the streets and causing tripping hazards.
An investigation was undertaken by ITV’s Tonight programme. It was reported that 210 people had suffered from injuries in accidents involving e-scooters since the trials began. Transport of London carried out a comparison between cycling and e-scooters injuries using data from the US and concluded that the rate of serious injuries was around 100 more for e-scooters than for cyclists.
Under what circumstances can I make a claim for compensation for an E-scooter-related injury?
- You have been injured by a motor vehicle whilst riding an e-scoter and the driver of the vehicle is at fault for the accident. You will be able to pursue a claim through the driver’s insurance policy.
- Many riders will not be insured, but a claim may be possible through the Motor Insurance Bureau’s uninsured claims scheme.
- If you have been injured as a pedestrian by an e-scooter that was rented as part of the Government-backed trials. The companies who rent out these scooters should have insurance in place to cover any claims.
- If injured by a privately owned scooter then, as e-scooters must abide by the same laws and regulations that apply to all motor vehicles, they must have insurance. However, it is unlikely that the owner/rider will be insured, as riding a privately owned e-scooter on public roads is illegal which would invalidate any policy of insurance. Fortunately, at present, the Motor Insurers Bureau may be able to compensate you.