With Transport for London set to start e-scooter trials in London next year, insurers and brokers could have some new challenges and risks ahead 

There could be more potentially significant injuries and complex claims involving e-scooter riders next year, according to the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL).

This is due to newer e-scooter riders having “little or no experience of using such a vehicle and so collisions scenarios could be novel,” FOIL’s member of the motor sector focus team Glyn Thompson and associate at Weightman’s law firm told Insurance Times.

It follows Transport for London’s (TfL) and London Councils revealing last week that it will be beginning e-scooter trials in spring 2021.

TfL expects London’s year-long trial to be the largest in the UK, with around one third of London boroughs expressing their interest and more expected to join at a later stage.

New risks

Thompson said that both established motor insurers and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau can expect to see an acceleration in these new types of liability dispute.

He continued: “Classed as a ‘motor vehicle’, as part of the trials e-scooter use will be limited to roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks but not pavements.

”Insurance will be supplied by the e-scooter provider as part of the rental fee.

“Private e-scooters remain illegal to use on public highways so cannot be insured.

”However, as the trials ramp up, without knowledge of the legislation private e-scooters owners are likely to see the trials as legitimising use of their own scooters leading to congested highways of insured and uninsured e-scooters presenting new risks to existing highway users. Caution ahead – proceed with care.”

Number one priority

Meanwhile TfL’s director of transport innovation Michael Hurwitz, reassured Londoners that safety is its “number one priority during the e-scooter rental trial”.

He added: “We’re determined to make sure that London recovers from coronavirus as safely and sustainably as possible and are supportive of innovative solutions that could help.”

He explained that the e-scooter rental trial will be critical in providing data insights TfL needs to determine whether the vehicle is a “viable part of a greener and healthier future for London”.