Private e-scooters are often not insured for use on public roads and pavements, which is why the trade association is warning people to ‘think twice’ before giving them as presents for Christmas 

The ABI has called on the UK government to create robust regulations regarding e-scooters being driven on public roads.

Currently, it is not illegal to own, buy or sell an e-scooter and they can be used on private land. However, it is still illegal to ride them on public roads, pavements and cycle lanes unless they are included in one of the government’s ongoing trials.

Laura Hughes, the ABI’s manager for general insurance policy, said: “We share the government’s vision of a greener and more inclusive transport system. But at present, used illegally on roads and pavements, e-scooters are dangerous to their owners, other road users and pedestrians.

“To help ensure [e-scooters] can reach their potential, it is essential that the government develops robust regulations around their construction and use, so that e-scooter travel can become as safe as possible.”

The trade association has warned individuals to think twice before buying an e-scooter as a Christmas gift.

More dangerous than a bicycle

According to the ABI, e-scooter riders are at risk of the following:

  • Facing or causing serious injury to themselves, other road users and pedestrians: Users are eight times more likely to suffer a head injury than a cyclist. Figures from the Department for Transport, published in September 2021, showed that in 2020, there were 484 casualties involving e-scooters - on average, more than one injury every day. Since 2018, there have been an estimated 29 deaths linked to their use. The current status of e-scooters means there are no regulatory standards to govern their construction to ensure safety.
  • Penalties for their illegal use: Riders could face a £300 fine and six points on their driving licence if they use private e-scooters on public roads or pavements. This could impact the cost of future motor insurance. The e-scooter in question can also be confiscated by the police.

Matthew Avery, chief strategic research director at Thatcham Research, said: “Before the mobility benefit of e-scooters can be realised, regulation is urgently required.

”In the absence of prompt action, e-scooter travel - which could be 100 times more dangerous than riding a bicycle - will continue to present a real risk, not only to users but also to pedestrians, drivers and people living with disabilities.

“Outside of the government trials, it’s illegal to ride an e-scooter on public roads. And while vital safety features are yet to be mandated by regulation, gifting an e-scooter to a loved one this Christmas could see them ending up either in the back of an ambulance or a police car.”