E-scooter sales continue to boom in the UK with the market flooded by both local and big-name international brands. Yet the rise of e-scooter use on pavements and roads hasn’t impressed police in the Midlands, writes Ashley Norris in Transition Earth.
Indeed, Leicestershire police has become the latest force to alert owners of e-scooters that if they are caught riding them in public they could be confiscated.
The force put out a tweet showing that they had already seized a scooter after the owner was found riding it on the pavement. They are following the lead of similar pronouncements from constabularies in Nottinghamshire (which has also been seizing e-scooters) and Derbyshire.
There is also a section of the London Met police that have voiced their concerns about private e-scooter use with Ch Supt Ovens telling the BBC anyone given an e-scooter should think about taking it “back to the manufacturer or shop”. Those caught could face a £300 fine, points on their driving licence or have the device seized. In spite of their widespread use over 350 e-scooters have been seized by the Met.
As Ben Shirley Co-founder of leading e-scooter retails Electrick Wheels explains:
“While it is legal to buy or sell an e-scooter (classed as a battery-powered personal transport device), riding them on public roads, pavements or cycle lanes is against the law. Riders currently face a fine if they use them on public roads or pavements (outside of the trial areas).”
There are no accurate figures for privately owned e-scooters in the UK, yet Halfords reported a 450 percent increase in sales during November.
During the lockdown with quieter roads, the police appeared to be turning a blind eye to e-scooters users who, in theory at least, may be using them to avoid public transport thereby reducing their exposure to the virus.
As the UK prepares to return to some semblance of normality the unspoken truce between the police and e-scooters owners could be over.
The UK government is under a lot of pressure from environmentalists and industry groups to turn its e-scooter trials into legislation allowing their use. Halfords recently unveiled a petition pushing the government into speeding up the regulation process.