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E-SCOOTERS: What should I legally do if I’m in an accident with one?

The use of electronic scooters, or e- scooters for short, is currently being trialled in major cities up and down the country. If you’ve recently visited cities such as Manchester, Nottingham, or Liverpool, then you’ve probably seen rows of e-scooters lined up ready for a rider to come along, download an app, rent a scooter and off they go zooming down a busy road without a care in the world, and without a safety helmet in sight.

Of course, most e-scooter riders are considerate and cautious of cars and pedestrians, but accidents involving e- scooters are on the rise. In fact, according to research carried out by dashcam company Nextbase, electric scooters are predicted to be involved in up to 200,000 accidents this year, and more than a million people in the UK are expected to own one by the end of the year.

Whilst owning an e-scooter isn’t against the law, in fact you’ll now find them on sale in all major retailers from Argos to Halfords, riding an e-scooter on a public road is illegal (unless it is part of one of the trials mentioned above). There have been countless incidents of police seizing brand new e- scooters, and the riders being fined £300, and given up to 6 points on their driving licence for driving without insurance.

As a car driver myself, e-scooters worry me a lot more than cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Why? Because the riders are often young and inexperienced. In fact, for many it might be their first time riding an electric scooter on a busy city centre road.

Some riders won’t know how to operate an e- scooter and how to comfortably slow down and stop – it’s a bit like watching someone learn how to ride a bike along a busy road – you just wouldn’t do it. Not to mention the fact that there’s often not a safety helmet in sight, and there have been numerous reports of incidents where the riders have been intoxicated while riding an e-scooter in city centres. All these things are a recipe for disaster, and these disasters are the accidents that we have been reading and hearing about on the news of serious accidents involving e-scooters.

So, what should I do if I hit an e-scooter rider?

The law is no different if you hit someone riding an e -scooter as it is for say a pedestrian or a cyclist. You must stop and exchange your details with the rider. It is important to get the following information from the rider:

  • Their name

  • Address

  • Contact number

  • A note of the scooter trial company *there are several companies operating across the UK, but the name should be easily seen on the side of the scooter

  • Pictures of the e-scooter, your vehicle (including any damage to both) and pictures of the accident scene.

You must report the accident to your insurance company, regardless of whether you wish to make a claim on your policy or not.

What about if I’m not at fault?

The above still applies – you will need to obtain as much information from the rider as possible including the name of the e-scooter company as it is often that company that will provide insurance cover in the event of an accident. You can often contact the e-scooter company to obtain details of their insurance and submit a claim to them directly.

However, if you are involved in an accident with a privately owned e-scooter then the situation may be a little trickier as these should not be used on public roads and therefore the rider is unlikely to hold valid insurance in the event of an accident. In this case it is important to report the incident to the police and obtain a Crime Reference Number.

What should I do if I witness an e-scooter accident?

If you witness an accident involving an e-scooter and you can help, especially if someone is injured, please call for an ambulance and possibility the Police if it looks like their assistance is needed. Accidents involving e-scooters can be serious and as a witness you can play a key part in ensuring the safety of those involved by getting them the help they may need. If the Police attend, they may ask to speak with you and take a statement based on what you witnessed. You can also choose to provide your details to those involved in the accident themselves.

What next?

I believe e-scooters are here to stay, the data collected from the trials will be analysed, and I believe that it is likely that privately owned electric scooters will be made legal (with the relevant insurance and qualifications in place of course). E-scooters bring with them advantages such as being environmentally friendly, easily accessible to many, and they will hopefully play a role in reducing congestion in our busy cities.

Article by Elena Manukyan. Elena is the Founder, Director and Solicitor at The Injury Solicitor Ltd. She has 10 years of experience in pursuing personal injury claims for her clients.


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