The sheer number of illegally-used e-scooters in Cambridge means that police cannot crack down on them as officers would “never be able to do anything else.” When questioned on the matter by councillors, Cambridgeshire Constabulary said that it had therefore been taking an, “education over enforcement approach.”
For the time being it remains illegal to use privately-owned e-scooters on public roads or in public places. It is however entirely legal to sell them.
While a new Transport Bill, introduced in the 2022 Queen’s Speech, will make e-scooters legal through the creation of a low-speed, zero-emission vehicle category, the current situation has resulted in a proliferation of illegally-used vehicles.
Cambridgeshire Live reports that when it was suggested to him by a councillor that it should be “relatively easy to do something about them,” Sergeant Brad Munday highlighted what a huge undertaking this would be.
“In essence, when we are out and about, if we are seeing them [and] they are being used dangerously, we are dealing with it, but for the most part, the sheer volume of how many there are about… if we dealt with every single one we saw, we would never attend an incident, we would never be able to deal with anything else.
“There are issues with the legality, but we have to be selective about how we are dealing with them, we have to be pragmatic about it and that does at times mean using discretion.
“I’m hoping as legislation is pushed and changed, either they will be made legal and we can start enforcing specific offences against them, or it just becomes a case of they are outright banned.
“The problem is they are so readily available that even if road traffic law becomes such that they are fully banned, they are still going to be purchased, they are still going to be available. They are here, we just have to manage them as and when we can.”
Munday said the force was therefore focusing on e-scooters being ridden dangerously – including those that are part of Cambridge’s share scheme, which are legal to use on public roads.
To help with this, the operator, Voi, has provided officers with an app through which officers can report users for offences such as pavement riding or carrying passengers.
By providing the scooter ID number, as well as the time and location of the incident, Voi can identify the user and, if necessary, suspend or ban them from their service.