Robust regulations needed before e-scooter use becomes more widespread
30 March 2022
• Road safety concerns prompt insurance bodies to call for robust regulations before wider roll out of legal e-scooter use.
• Regulations need to strike to right balance between enabling innovation and public safety, as 17 people every week injured by e-scooters.
• The industry ready to work with Government on e-scooters and wider developments on the future of transport.
Insurance groups have called for the government to bring in robust legislation around the use of e-scooters if their legal use is widened beyond the current permitted government trials, and on private land with the permission of the landowner.
Latest figures* show that in the year ending June 2021 there were 882 accidents involving e-scooters, resulting in 931 casualties (the equivalent of 17 people every week), of which 732 were e-scooter users.
In a joint letter to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, the International Underwriting Association of London (IUA) , the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) reiterated their support of the development of alternative forms of transport throughout Great Britain in the shift towards a greener, more efficient transport network.
However, they highlight concerns of the significant risk to all road users, pedestrians and e-scooter users until there is a robust regulation around the wider use of e-scooters beyond the current official trials.
The letter calls for the development of regulations that will strike the right balance between enabling innovation on the one hand and public safety on the other by ensuring that:
-No liabilities fall onto the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) and premium-paying motorists without a corresponding insurance requirement for e-scooters, or some form of contribution towards the MIB’s liabilities from users of e-scooters and related vehicles.
-Effective enforcement where e-scooters are used illegally in Great Britain, including in respect of civil and criminal liability.
-There is absolute certainty as to how and where e-scooters may be used in Great Britain, whether that be part of a rental scheme or privately.
-There are coherent standards in respect of e-scooter construction and safety equipment, including standards on batteries and charging, braking and lighting, and whether protective equipment is mandated.
The bodies also recommend that:
- Data from the current Government trials is shared with relevant stakeholders.
- The experience of other countries that have de-regulated the use of e-scooters is considered.
- A review of regulations on the sale of e-scooters to ensure that sellers and manufacturers clearly set out to buyers their legal responsibilities arising from their use.
-The broader impacts of e-scooters are considered, for example insurers are concerned about the fire risk that lithium batteries pose and there is a need for regulation to be developed around how they can be safely transported and stored within properties (both residential and commercial). Consideration should also be given to how e-scooters should be parked appropriately to ensure they do not become a hazard to homeowners, employees, pedestrians and road users alike.
Chris Jones, IUA Director of Legal and Market Services, commented:
“Illegal use of e-scooters currently presents a significant risk to riders, pedestrians, and other road users. It is essential that an appropriate and effective regulatory system is introduced at the earliest opportunity.”
James Dalton, Director, General Insurance Policy, ABI said:
“The insurance industry is committed to working with Government to ensure e-scooter regulation strikes the right balance between ensuring public safety on the one hand and encouraging innovative approaches to transport on the other.”
Graeme Trudgill, Executive Director, BIBA, said:
“BIBA supports the introduction of new green and financially economical forms of mobility, however for Government to legalise e-scooters in a responsible way, they need to bring forward robust regulations and effective enforcement”.
- ENDS -
Notes for Editors
IUA – Scott Farley, Director of Communications, 020 7617 4449; mobile: 07921 699218
ABI - Malcolm Tarling, Chief Media Relations Officer 020 7216 7410; Mobile: 07776 147667
BIBA – Graeme Trudgill, Executive Director, 020 7397 0218; 07917 736255
LMA- David Powell, Head of Technical Underwriting, 0203 307 3918
* Department for Transport ‘Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: e-Scooter factsheet year ending June 2021 (published 25 Nov 2021)