ABI urges people to think twice about e-scooter Christmas gift


Safety and legality concerns prompt warning about buying an e-scooter as a Christmas gift

The Association of British Insurers is warning people to think twice before buying an e-scooter as a Christmas gift.

While it is not illegal to own, buy or sell an e-scooter, and they can be used on private land, it is illegal to ride them on public roads, pavements, and cycle lanes, unless as part of one of the Government trials.

E-scooter riders are at risk of:

  • Facing or causing serious injury to themselves, other road users and pedestrians. Users are 8 times more likely to suffer a head injury than a cyclist. Latest figures1 show that in 2020 there were 484 casualties involving e-scooters - on average over one injury every day. Since 2018 there have been an estimated 29 deaths linked to their use. The status of e-scooters means that there are no regulatory standards to govern their construction to ensure the safety of these devices.
  • Penalties for their illegal use. Riders could face a £300 fine and six points on their licence if they use them on public roads or pavements. This could impact on the cost of future motor insurance. The e-scooter can also be confiscated by the police.

Laura Hughes, ABI’s Manager, General Insurance, said:

Laura Hughes“We share the Government’s vision of a greener and more inclusive transport system. But at present, used illegally on the roads and pavements, e-scooters are dangerous to their owners, other road users and pedestrians. To help ensure they can reach their potential, it is essential that the Government develops robust regulations around their construction and use, so that e-scooter travel can become as safe as possible.”

Matthew Avery, chief strategic research director, Thatcham Research, comments:

“Before the mobility benefit of e-scooters can be realised, regulation is urgently required. In the absence of prompt action, e-scooter travel, which could be 100 times more dangerous than riding a bicycle, will continue to present a real risk not only to users but also to pedestrians, drivers and people living with disabilities.

“Outside of the government trials, it’s illegal to ride an e-scooter on public roads. And while vital safety features are yet to be mandated by regulation, gifting an e-scooter to a loved one this Christmas could see them ending up either in the back of an ambulance or a police car.”