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Could Britain be the next country to say ‘au revoir’ to e-scooters after Paris ban?

As casualties involving e-scooters triple in just 12 months, Neil Greig of the charity IAM RoadSmart is calling on the government to take action before more road users are seriously injured or killed by e-scooter riders

Neil Greig
04 April 2023
Paris has banned e-scooters

 

Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart is raising awareness of the dangers of e-scooters following a landmark ban in Paris, which saw residents of the city vote overwhelmingly in favour of banning the controversial battery-powered vehicles.

A staggering 90% of residents who voted in the French capital were in favour of a ban on the rental scooters amid growing safety concerns, with 459 injuries and three deaths attributed to e-scooters in Paris last year.

Research commissioned by the UK’s leading road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has revealed that e-scooters are similarly unpopular in Britain, with over two thirds of respondents stating they would support a ban. Analysis from regions across the UK reveals that Londoners and residents of the West Midlands are among those who feel most under threat from e-scooters.

Findings in IAM RoadSmart’s Safety Culture Report, which surveys over 2,000 UK motorists on opinions of key road safety issues over time, discovered that e-scooters could be facing the same fate in Britain, if public opinion is anything to go by, with over two thirds (68%) of respondents being in support of a law totally banning e-scooters.

And 68% of respondents also stated that the growing number of e-scooters on the roads is a threat to their road safety, with three quarters (74%) of those over 70-years-old being the age group feeling most threatened by the device, compared to 59% of 17–34-year-olds.

Responses varied according to region, with residents of London and the West Midlands among those who feel most under threat by the growing number of e-scooters – raising the question of whether boroughs of the capital and England’s second city could soon take similar action to decision-makers in Paris.

Not all of those who feel under threat by e-scooters are calling for a blanket ban on the machines, but are instead calling for smarter and stronger ways for them to be used more safely, with 86% of those surveyed stating that they are in support of tougher regulation of the devices. This includes a law restricting e-scooters to cycle lanes only, enforcing age limits on those who are allowed to use them and introducing strict design and construction standards.

This comes after the latest Department for Transport (DfT) statistics revealed that there were 1,434 casualties involving e-scooters in Britain in 2021, of which, 10 people were sadly killed. This is compared to 484 casualties involving e-scooters in 2020, meaning casualties have almost tripled in just 12 months.

The people of Paris voiced their opinions on e-scooters loud and clear at the voting booths, and our research demonstrates that British road users have similar concerns to our French counterparts.

We still await the Transport Bill, meaning there is still no regulation of these vehicles, which can go up to 30mph in some cases. Given the number of collisions we have seen on our roads and pavements involving e-scooters since they have been introduced, the concerns of the public are more than understandable.

The government must act faster to regulate e-scooters before more injuries are sustained and lives are tragically lost. In the meantime, we would encourage those who wish to use rental e-scooters to ride with caution, vigilance and due attention, keeping themselves, other motorists and pedestrians safe.

Neil Greig is director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart
www.iamroadsmart.com

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