Warwickshire Police stopped and spoke to 14 e-scooter riders between Monday March 29 and Thursday April 1 as part of an increased effort to raise awareness that it is illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter in a public place.
While trials of rented scooters covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy are currently underway in a number of towns and cities around the UK, none is taking place in Warwickshire. All of those stopped were therefore riding privately-owned e-scooters.
The force said that the initiative follows an increase in complaints from the public.
PC Adam Fletcher from the Roads Policing Unit said: “We understand that buying an e-scooter can be tempting, especially as the weather improves however the law is clear.
“You can buy one but it is illegal to use a privately owned e-scooter in any public space including roads, pavements, parks, town centres or canal towpaths for example. The only place a privately owned e-scooter can be used is on private land.”
e-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) so are treated as motor vehicles & subject to the same legal requirements such as MOT, licensing, tax insurance. @OPUWarks pic.twitter.com/Ea0UIl0lYB— Warwickshire Police (@warkspolice) April 7, 2021
Those stopped, who were mostly teenagers, were taken home. The legislation around e-scooters was then explained to them as well as to their parents or guardians.
Riders’ names were also recorded. If stopped again, officers have the powers to seize their e-scooter and prosecute them using Section 165 of the Road Traffic Act. E-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) so they are treated as motor vehicles and subject to the same legal requirements, such as MOT, licensing, tax and insurance.
Fletcher added: “Warwickshire Police is working with partners including Warwickshire County Council to educate e-scooter riders first. However, those who continue to ignore the law will have their e-scooter seized, so please make sure you keep your e-scooter on private land so this doesn’t happen to you.
“Local schools have also had assemblies highlighting the illegal use of e-scooters as a mode of transport to and from school. We are also pleased to see that despite a surge in sales last year, nearly all retailers now state on their websites that the use of e-scooters on public land is illegal.”
Earlier this year, Halfords called for public use of privately-owned e-scooters to be legalised as it launched its first own-brand e-scooter, the Carrera Impel.
The retailer believes that the UK is ‘behind the curve’ when it comes to legalisation.
Mark Ryder, Strategic Director for Communities at Warwickshire County Council, urged the public to avoid buying e-scooters.
“We understand the public’s support for environmentally friendly modes of transport, and we want to work with our local communities to make sure our public spaces are safe for everyone,” he said.
“There are a number of trials underway looking at how e-scooters could work and what safety requirements would be needed, and we are keen to learn from these before exploring how they could be used effectively and safely in Warwickshire.
“Along with the Police, we are therefore asking the public not to buy an e-scooter at this current time, and please do not ride an e-scooter in a public place.”