Surge in number of pedestrians injured by e-scooters

Private e-scooters are often used on public roads and pavements despite being banned.

Neil Lancefield
Wednesday 25 May 2022 15:09
The number of pedestrians injured after being hit by e-scooters was nearly four times higher in 2021 than the previous year, new figures show (Yui Mok/PA)
The number of pedestrians injured after being hit by e-scooters was nearly four times higher in 2021 than the previous year, new figures show (Yui Mok/PA)

The number of pedestrians injured after being hit by e-scooters was nearly four times higher in 2021 than the previous year, new figures show.

Department for Transport statistics revealed that 223 people travelling on foot were wounded by the contraptions in Britain last year, including 63 who were seriously hurt.

That is up from a total of 57 pedestrian casualties in 2020, which included just 13 serious injuries.

Walking charity Living Streets warned that the situation will worsen unless the ban on using e-scooters on pavements is enforced.

The figures have been released just weeks after the Government announced it plans to introduce new legislation to govern the use of e-scooters.

Private e-scooters are often used on public roads and pavements despite being banned.

Legalised trials of rental e-scooters on roads have been set up in dozens of towns and cities across England.

The casualty statistics also show that 64 cyclists were injured in e-scooter crashes in 2021, up from 21 during the previous 12 months.

Some 1,034 e-scooter riders or passengers were injured in 2021, accounting for 76% of all casualties in crashes involving the devices.

That includes nine users who were killed and 305 who were seriously injured.

It is illegal to use e-scooters on pavements but, until this is enforced, we risk seeing the number of pedestrians injured on our streets continue to rise

Dr Rachel Lee, Living Streets

A breakdown of the types of injuries resulting from e-scooter crashes shows 28 people suffered a serious head injury, 32 sustained a fractured lower leg, ankle or foot, and three endured a broken neck or back.

Not all police provided full data for last year so the actual number of casualties during that period is likely to be higher.

Living Streets policy and research manager Dr Rachel Lee said: “It is illegal to use e-scooters on pavements but, until this is enforced, we risk seeing the number of pedestrians injured on our streets continue to rise.

“Initially we were concerned at the speed with which the Government was moving forward with e-scooter trials and the loose guidance given to local authorities.

“However, a much greater problem has emerged. There are more than 750,000 illegal, privately owned e-scooters already being used on public roads.

“That can’t be undone. As well as legislating for e-scooter construction and use, Government must now address enforcement against use on pavements.”

Safety is at the heart of our e-scooter trials, looking to protect riders, pedestrians and other road users

Government spokesman

A spokeswoman for the Royal National Institute of Blind People said e-scooters “pose particular risks for blind and partially-sighted pedestrians” as they are “fast-moving”, quiet and “often ridden on pavements”.

She added: “Making e-scooters more visually and audibly detectable will help reduce the risks these vehicles pose, but these are only some of the solutions that are being explored.

“Ultimately we need appropriate infrastructure – such as detectable kerbs and pelican crossings – and effective enforcement to ensure that e-scooters are always kept separate from pedestrians.”

A Government spokesman said: “We extend our deepest sympathies to those involved in these tragic incidents.

“Safety is at the heart of our e-scooter trials, looking to protect riders, pedestrians and other road users.

“We have set out clear regulations and guidance for users and rental providers on wearing helmets, speed limits and precautions to keep everyone safe.

“While riding a privately owned e-scooter on public land is currently illegal, we are considering how best to design future regulations.

“Our Transport Bill will enable us to take the steps we need to support innovation, robustly crack down on irresponsible use and make e-scooters safer.”

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