The vehicle has been omitted from the revised Highway Code, but road users want an end to the e-scooter ’wild west’ caused by a lack of regulation

Law firm Keoghs has called on the government for tougher regulations and more clarity regarding electronic scooters (e-scooters) after 79% of Brits admitted to being concerned about pedestrian safety surrounding this type of micromobility.

After surveying 2,094 UK adults aged 18 or over on e-scooter usage, Keoghs is urging the government to deliver a clear plan for the prospective legalisation of e-scooters in order to provide clarity and protect members of the public.

Keoghs’ research found that 65% of respondents want to see a maximum speed limit installed on e-scooters, while 71% think helmets should be mandatory for e-scooter riders.

Natalie Larnder, Keoghs’ head of market affairs, said: “It’s clear that road users are concerned about safety and want an end to the ’wild west’ created by the lack of proper regulation or clarity on how and where e-scooters can be used.

“Failure to address these points is leaving the public understandably concerned about the risk of e-scooters to pedestrians, other road users or to e-scooter riders themselves.”

Respondents’ fears are not unfounded - according to government figures, 882 accidents involving e-scooters occurred in the year ending June 2021.

Safety fears

Road users may be further confused around the legal use of e-scooters following the latest Highway Code update, which introduced a “hierarchy” of road users, yet appeared to omit e-scooters entirely.

The updated code is designed to ensure particular vehicle types have a responsibility to reduce danger and threats posed to others, but the changes have already attracted criticism for failing to include e-scooters.

Larnder added: “As the number of e-scooters on our roads increases, we urgently need the government to properly address the laws around how they can be used safely.”

Keoghs’ survey found that age restrictions (68%) and a licencing system for riders (63%) had widespread support from respondents, along with a ban on e-scooter use on pavements and in pedestrianised areas (68%) if e-scooters were to be legalised for use on all UK public roads.

However, 25% of respondents said that e-scooters should only be available through private hire schemes, rather than privately owned, if they are legalised.

In terms of e-scooter safety, 79% of Brits are most concerned about pedestrian safety around e-scooter usage, while 74% are most worried about the safety of other road users and 64% feared for the safety of e-scooter riders themselves.

Young people aged between 18 and 24 are significantly less likely to be concerned about the safety threats posed by legalising e-scooters for road usage in the UK - 59% of this demographic are concerned about pedestrian safety, compared to 90% of Keoghs’ respondents aged over 55.