Amidst the hustle and bustle of UK streets, a new mode of transportation has captured the attention of commuters and leisure-seekers alike. E-scooters, with their sleek design and eco-friendly appeal, have become a common sight, weaving through traffic and lining pavements. While their popularity continues to soar, concerns surrounding the safety and legal implications of uninsured e-scooters have come to the forefront, prompting a need for greater awareness and regulation.
The surge in e-scooters has led to a significant increase in accidents involving these two-wheeled devices. From minor scrapes to more serious injuries, the rising safety concerns call for attention and action. According to reports until June 2022, there were 1,349 collisions involving e-scooters, marking a 27% increase from the previous period. Among these incidents, over 1,000 involved a third party, resulting in 342 casualties for individuals other than the riders. Tragically, 11 riders and one third party lost their lives.
Pedestrians and cyclists are most commonly affected by these accidents.
Navigating the legal landscape of e-scooter usage proves challenging. On one hand, only e-scooters authorised under the Electric Scooter Trials & Traffic Signs Regulations 2020 are legally permitted on the highway, offering a greener alternative to cars and public transport. On the other hand, every other e-scooter being used outside of these authorised trials is considered illegal, making insuring them nearly impossible. This legal paradox leaves riders and pedestrians in a precarious position.
Legally sanctioned e-scooters can only be ridden by individuals aged 16 or over, holding at least a provisional license. A helmet is not required, and these machines must not exceed 15.5mph, weigh over 55kg, or have a motor exceeding 500-watt power output (twice that of e-bikes).
The lack of insurance for illegally ridden e-scooters has significant consequences. Riders are personally liable for any accidents, injuries, or losses they cause, placing them and their victims at risk. Many riders are unaware of this financial burden when they hop onto an e-scooter. For accident victims, seeking compensation can be complex and often fruitless, as the rider is unlikely to have the financial means to cover the damages. In such cases, claims are typically directed to the Motor Insurers Bureau, which compensates victims of uninsured and untraced motorists.
Given the risks associated with uninsured e-scooters, it is essential to protect oneself. One possible solution is to check if Home and Contents insurance or bespoke Cycle Insurance includes an Unsatisfied Judgement Recovery provision. However, pursuing a claim would require identifying the erring scooter rider’s identity and address, which can be challenging. These coverages offer a safety net, assisting with medical expenses and other costs in the event of an accident involving an uninsured e-scooter.
Nevertheless, insurance alone cannot prevent accidents. All road users must practice safe driving and riding habits, and e-scooter riders should familiarise themselves with and adhere to the rules of the road.
If involved in an e-scooter accident, seeking legal assistance promptly is crucial. Preserving evidence plays a vital role in such cases, and a swift response improves the chances of a successful claim. Whether it’s photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, or medical records, every piece of evidence strengthens the case. However, dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming, and knowing where to start can be challenging. This is where Cycle SOS can provide assistance.
Cycle SOS, the UK’s leading cycling accident claims specialists, offer support and guidance in the event of an accident. They understand the new challenges posed by e-scooters on the roads and aim to advocate for safer streets for all. From gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies, Cycle SOS handles the legal aspects of your claim, allowing you to focus on your recovery. For more information about Cycle SOS and the support they offer, please visit https://www.cycle-sos.co.uk/.