Warning that illegal use of e-scooters is putting pedestrians at risk, reports Joe Talora
The number of e-scooter collisions in London shot up dramatically last year, with 258 incidents recorded in the first six months of 2021 according to Metropolitan Police figures.
The worrying statistic represents a marked increase in collisions involving e-scooters compared to previous years. Police recorded just nine incidents in 2018 and 38 in 2019, while 266 collisions occurred in 2020.
The issue was brought to light by London Assembly member Unmesh Desai, who requested the figures from Sadiq Khan.
The Labour AM has said that the use of illegal e-scooters in the capital is “putting Londoners at risk of significant harm” and called for people to stick to Transport for London’s e-scooter rental trial.
He said: “The use of illegal e-scooters on our roads and pavements is putting Londoners at risk of significant harm, especially the most vulnerable in our communities such as people with limited mobility, visual impairments and hearing loss.
“Whilst it is concerning that these figures are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, it has been encouraging to see the scale of enforcement action taken by TfL and the Met Police so far.”
TfL’s rental trial, which began last summer, remains the only legal way to ride e-scooters in London, with the use of privately-owned e-scooters outlawed in the UK.
The Metropolitan Police seized more than 3,600 privately-owned e-scooters from London’s streets between January and November 2021. Users caught riding private e-scooters can be fined up to £300 and may face penalty points on their driving license.
Despite the sharp rise in collisions involving e-scooters last year, TfL reported just 13 incidents involving users of its trial scooters out of a total of 520,000 journeys.
E-scooters available to hire through the TfL trial are limited to a maximum speed of twelve miles-per-hour and are fitted with additional safety features not found on many privately-owned scooters.
Last month, TfL announced that it was banning passengers from taking private e-scooters and e-bikes on to public transport following reports of fires breaking out because of defective batteries.
London Fire Brigade was called to attend more than 50 fires involving e-scooters and e-bikes in 2021, including a dramatic incident caught on camera and shared on social media that showed a tube carriage filling up with smoke from an e-scooter fire.
TfL’s e-scooter hire trial is expected to run until at least June 2022.