Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) believes the government is in danger of ‘losing control’ when it comes to e-scooters. Matthew Scott says that, “inconsiderate riders are becoming a menace on our roads and pavements.” However, Canterbury hire scheme operator Bird says that it has had no serious incidents.
A ban on e-scooters was partially lifted last July to allow for trials of rented scooters covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy.
Trials were expected to finish this August, but the government has now extended them until March 2022 to allow for the completion of three trials in London. It says it will then take a decision on whether or not to alter e-scooters’ legal status.
The use of privately owned e-scooters on public roads currently remains illegal.
Scott says he would like to see the issue addressed sooner.
“Inconsiderate riders are becoming a menace on our roads and pavements, ignoring the law and causing dangers for other road users,” he told Kent Online.
"We urgently need decisive action now on their future, as we’re in danger of losing control of the issue and placing additional burdens on policing.
“Too many people are using them in places they shouldn’t and we need to stop them being bought for young people.
“There should be no more roll outs until work is done with retailers, manufacturers and the public to make sure they are safe and people understand the law.”
A spokesperson for Bird was keen to emphasise the distinction between privately owned e-scooters and rental schemes, highlighting several safety measures in place for its Canterbury scheme.
“Electric scooters are having a positive impact on towns and cities across the UK, helping hundreds of thousands of people get where they need to go without causing congestion or air pollution.
"Bird puts the safety of its riders and other road users above all else, and has been operating responsibly in the UK since 2018.
"In Canterbury, Bird uses location technology to limit where the scooters can go, and the speed at which they can travel. Any rider breaching local rules, or riding irresponsibly, will be banned from using our service.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The global pandemic has seen unprecedented changes to how we travel, which is why we are running e scooter trials in over 30 areas in England.
“These trials prioritise public safety while ensuring we get the best evidence of their benefits and impact on public space, and will help us design future regulations.”