The use of privately-owned e-scooters on roads or other public places remains illegal

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) has responded following concerns that the MIB might have to chase for reimbursement of claims should e-scooters be used in a crime.

A spokesperson for the MIB said: “We provide compensation for victims of collisions caused by e-scooters where no third-party insurance is in place, as we do in cases arising from the negligent use of any other motor vehicle.

“We agree that in the case of injuries resulting from assaults committed by e-scooter users, there may be arguments that the injuries are due to the use of a motor vehicle. Where this is accepted, we will consider any claims.

“The e-scooters in the current government-promoted e-scooter trials are all legal and subject to compulsory insurance. The use of privately-owned e-scooters on roads or other public places remains illegal.”

The Vnuk ruling

The MIB explained that e-scooters are deemed to be motor vehicles following the 2014 Court of Justice of the European Union case, Damijan Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav – which has a direct effect on the MIB.

This case involved Vnuk, a farmworker who was knocked off a ladder in a farmyard by a trailer that was attached to a reversing tractor. Vnuk subsequentially sought damages against the defendant insurer of the tractor.

The Slovenian courts ruled against Vnuk, under the reasoning that a compulsory insurance policy under Slovenian law for a motor vehicle covered the use of the tractor as a means of transport, but no damage was caused when the tractor was used as a machine or propulsion device.

The wider implications of the Vnuk ruling means that potentially all cars driven solely on private property need to to be insured and that all motor insurance policies should be amended.