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Written on 19th November 2020 by

Micromobility is changing the way people travel everyday in a rapidly evolving urban transport environment. This brings new and urgent challenges for national policymakers and city officials.

The popularity of e-scooters has exploded in recent years as have the concerns raised about the safety of these devices. Some electric scooters can reach high speeds, and with lack of regulation and safety measures in place, this puts pedestrians, cyclists and other road users at significant risk of serious injury. As electric scooter riders are not required to have insurance, there is no recourse for accident victims injured by electric scooters through no fault of their own, who may need costly and lengthy rehabilitation.

Road safety week focuses on Speed this year and we would urge all road users, but particularly E-scooter users to take care and be mindful of their speed.

Electric scooter riders are not required to undergo any proficiency course, or wear a safety helmet and reflective clothing. Concerns have been raised about the quiet nature of the vehicles and the dangers that this poses for blind or partially sighted pedestrians. A German micromobility firm TIER Mobility have partnered with the Thomas Pocklington Trust – a UK charity for blind and partially sighted people – and as a result of research have plans to fit its e-scooters with artificial warning sounds to alert people of their approach.

York City Council announced in October that it was working with TIER to deploy 50 e-scooters across the city in the New Year (2021) with the potential for 600 to be up and running by May 2021.

UK Government plans for micromobility and safer roads

In the UK and Ireland, motorised micro-vehicles are currently excluded from public roads until definitions of vehicles permitted for use on the road are updated to include them.

However the Department for Transport is to press ahead with a consultation announced last March that could see e-scooters enabled for UK use. Many UK cities are announcing the roll-out of E-scooter trials.

Last year YouTube star Emily Hartridge became the first electric scooter fatality in the UK. Since then the Government has opened a review into urban mobility that will explore regulation around new transport modes – including electric scooters – and invest £90m in ‘future mobility zones’ to open up more sustainable and easier mobility options.

Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, which is seen as the most ambitious review in transport, will explore whether new types of vehicles including e-scooters and e-cargo bike trailers could and should be made legal on UK roads.

The law in the UK on E-scooters

In the UK e-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), or ‘Powered Transporters’ therefore they fall within the legal definition of a “motor vehicle” under s185 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The laws that apply to motor vehicles apply to powered transporters such as tax, MOT, licence plates, etc., which potential users will find very difficult.

According to the Department of Transport, e-scooters are currently banned on the UK’s public roads, cycle paths and pavements without complying with certain legal requirements.

It is legal to use a powered transporter on private land with the permission of the land owner and if you are caught using an e-scooter on a public road or pavement you may be fined.

Road traffic accidents statistics

In 2018, there were 25,511 seriously injured casualties in reported road traffic accidents 
(Reported road casualties in Great Britain: 2018 annual report) Serious injuries caused by road traffic accidents can fall under the below categories:

  • Broken neck or back
  • Severe head injury and/or unconsciousness
  • Severe chest injury and/or difficulty breathing
  • Internal injuries
  • Multiple severe injuries/complex musculo-skeletal injuries.

These types of injuries can be life threatening or life changing and can lead to a long term disability.

If you have suffered a major trauma, you will have been treated at a specialist major trauma centre or major trauma unit and received multi-disciplinary specialist trauma care and rehabilitation. Once you have been discharged you may receive some level of ongoing treatment and support in the community, but services can vary all over the country.

Aside from your injuries, a road traffic accident will almost certainly cause you to incur other losses. These could be losses from the accident itself, such as damage to your vehicle, your clothing, or the vehicle’s contents. More frequently, however, they will be losses which arise in the aftermath of the accident due to the ongoing effects of your injuries, for example, loss of earnings, the need for ongoing treatment and rehabilitation and/or care, or requirement for aids and equipment to name a few. 

If you have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault you may be entitled to claim compensation for your losses. Clearly money alone cannot reverse all of the effects of an accident, but claiming personal injury compensation can be a great help in a difficult situation.

How we helped victims of road traffic accidents?

We acted for many cyclists & motorcyclists who suffered various injuries from road traffic accidents across the UK.

Kim Smerdon, recovered £625,000 compensation for a male motorcyclist after being hit by a car which was on the wrong side of the carriageway. Our client sustained orthopaedic injuries in the accident including fractures of the distal radian and ulna of the right and left arm, fractures of the right little finger, fractures of the right and left acetabulum, a fracture of the left distal femur, femoral artery occlusion, injury to the ligaments in the left knee, complete left sciatica, nerve palsy, fractures to the facial and nasal bones. These injuries were devastating and required a number of surgical procedures.

Read more of our case studies here>>

For more information about how our expert road traffic accident solicitors can help you please contact the team by email at piclaims@boyesturner.com.