Successful uptake will likely depend on availability of appropriate infrastructure
Insurance should not be a mandatory requirement for e-scooters, because cycles do not require compulsory insurance, so any mandate would be disproportionate for the new micro-mobility technology.
Instead, the e-scooter market should be allowed to evolve naturally and develop its own solutions, but the vehicles should be restricted to road use only and forbidden on pavements, the International Underwriting Association (IUA) has said in a statement to the UK Parliament.
The IUA has therefore called for clear regulation on e-scooters to be put in place, and for each type of micro-mobility to be considered on a case-by-case basis instead of using blanket approval.
These views from the IUA were submitted to a public inquiry launched by the House of Commons Transport Committee.
Chris Jones, director of legal and market services at the IUA, said: “It is essential that pedestrians are properly protected as the roll out of e-scooters in the UK is considered.”
Jones said that there is a clear potential for environmental and social benefits from the use of e-scooters, including reduced congestion and pollution. Successful uptake, however, is likely to be dependent on the availability of appropriate road infrastructure.
The UK is the last major European country where e-scooters are banned everywhere except on private land, but the technology is becoming increasingly popular as commuters seek alternatives to public transport in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
Need for a framework
In addition to submitting IUA member comments to the Transport Committee, the association has also discussed this subject in a roundtable event organised by the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) and at the Insurance and Financial Services All Party Parliamentary Group with Craig Tracey MP.
Jones added: “Our members expect that these vehicles would be limited only to low speed roads and should perhaps be initially trialled on cycle lanes.
“There must also be absolute clarity about the regulation of e-scooters. A framework must be developed that plainly spells out the obligations of users, manufacturers, rental scheme providers and other road users.”
A second consultation response is being prepared for a complementary inquiry launched by the Department for Transport on micro-mobility vehicles.
“Although illegal, incidents involving e-scooters are currently paid for by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) as they are technically classified as uninsured vehicles. This situation is problematic for both insurers and their customers as the MIB is funded directly by a levy on the premiums paid by all motor insurance policyholders,” Jones added.
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