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Can I make a claim for an injury involving an e-scooter?

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E-scooters on trial

Electric scooters (or e-scooters) are a relatively new mode of transport. An e-scooter is a motorised two-wheeled vehicle that has all the proponents of a push scooter but with a motor that propels the vehicle forward, with some privately owned scooters reaching speeds in excess of 30mph. They differ from electric bikes not just because they do not have pedals but because they are classed as motor vehicles under the road traffic laws.

What are the laws relating to e-scooters?

Under current law it is illegal to ride a privately-owned e-scooter on a public road, cycle lane and/or pavement. The only e-scooters that are exempt from this are those which are available for rent in certain parts of the UK as part of the government’s e-scooter trials. All scooters available for hire must meet strict criteria such as having a maximum speed of 15.5mph and featuring two braking systems.

However, it should be noted that a full or provisional driving licence is required to use a trial e-scooter, which must only be ridden on the road, and therefore abide by the same laws and regulations that apply to motor vehicles such as tax, licence, registration and MOT. In contrast, a privately owned e-scooter can only be ridden on private land legally, and only with the permission of the land owner.  

What are the risks of using e-scooters?

As with any motorised modes of transport, there are a number of risks with using an e-scooter on the roads and in public. Although trial e-scooters meet certain conditions to minimise risks, privately owned e-scooters can reach speeds of over 30mph, and with some only being equipped with only one brake, this can make it more difficult to stop and therefore poses a significant risk of injury to both the rider and others.  Also, as with cyclists, it is not a legal requirement for riders to wear a helmet or any other safety equipment, which means there is a risk that injuries suffered will be even more serious. Incidents involving e-scooters have already resulted in fatalities in numerous countries, including the UK.

When can I make a claim for, for an accident involving an e-scooter?

There are several circumstances in which you are likely to have grounds for a claim relating to e-scooter injuries, including:

  • If you have been injured by a motor vehicle whilst riding an e-scooter and the responsible party is the vehicle driver;
  • If you have been injured as a pedestrian, cyclist, or other road user by an e-scooter that had been rented as part of the government-backed trials, as the company who rented out the scooter should have insurance in place;
  • If you have been injured by a privately owned e-scooter it is unlikely the owner will be insured, as riding privately-owned scooters on a public road is illegal. However, the Motor Insurers Bureau may be able to assist in recovering compensation for any injuries.

If you have been involved in an accident it is important that you take the following steps:

  • Notify the police of the incident
  • Take details of the person responsible for the accident, their insurance, and any registration numbers
  • Take details of any witnesses to the accident
  • Photograph the accident scene and any damage caused
  • Request CCTV footage if the accident occurred in an area with surveillance

If you have been unfortunate enough to have been injured in an accident involving an e-scooter and would like some advice then our specialist personal injury solicitors are on hand to guide you through the process of making a claim, call us on 0161 696 6235 or complete our online enquiry form.

By Kathryn Horton, paralegal