E-scooter Injuries: What you Need to Know

7 Min Read

A man riding an e-scooter

The increased popularity of e-scooters is undeniable, with Halfords reporting an increase of 184% in e-scooter sales in the first half of the year. The Government has recognised the increased popularity and acknowledged the environmental advantages, but it has been concerned about the safety of pedestrians with so many more scooters on the pavements and roads.

In response, the Government launched a scheme on 4 July 2020 which permitted cities across the UK to run 12-month pilot schemes offering rental e-scooters to the public. Over 30 towns and cities have taken part in the scheme.

Rules of using a rental E-scooter in the UK:

  • Must have full or provisional (Category Q) driving licence
  • Riders must be over 16
  • Max speed 15.5 mph
  • Helmets not mandatory (similarly to cyclists, will likely be found contributory negligent if you are involved in accident and not wearing one)
  • Compulsory basic motorcycle training not required
  • Can only be ridden on roads or cycle lanes
  • Must have third party insurance
  • Private e-scooters can only be used on private land

The Government has announced that the scheme will be expanded to cover parts of London from this Autumn.  Canary Wharf, City of London, Kensington & Chelsea, Ealing, Richmond upon Thames and Hammersmith will all be running e-scooter rental schemes.  Due to the increased congestion in London, e-scooters in these areas will be limited to just 12.5 mph with riders limited to specified roads and cycle lanes.

Insurance will be provided by the three e-scooter rental operators who have been selected to run the pilot by Transport for London. Holders of provisional motor vehicle driving licences will be able to rent e-scooters and will not have to display L-plates.

Overall, the pilot has been considered a success and the Government has now extended it across the UK to 31 March 2022.

Do you need insurance to ride an e-scooter?

Yes. The law defines e-scooters as ‘powered transporters’ which falls within the definition of a “motor vehicle” in section 185(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means they are governed in the same way as any other motor vehicles and need to be insured. Rental operators are required to provide an insurance policy as part of the rental agreement, but privately owned e-scooters are not permitted to be used on the UK public highway so no insurance company will provide cover. If you are found to be riding a private e-scooter on a UK public highway, you can be prosecuted for not having insurance.

What are the fines for riding an e-scooter in the UK?

If you are found to be riding an e-scooter without insurance you could end up with:

  • A Fixed Penalty Notice for not having insurance, a £300 fine and 6 penalty points.
  • A conviction for driving without insurance will result in an IN10 endorsement. This will remain on your driving licence for four years from the date of the offence. You’ll also need to disclose it to insurance providers for a further year. You must have a category Q entitlement on your driving licence to use an e-scooter.
  • If you do not have a full/provisional driver’s licence you can receive a Fixed Penalty Notice for driving with no licence, up to £1,000 fine and 3 to 6 penalty points. If you are found to be riding an illegal e-scooter the scooter could be impounded.

Can you claim if you’re injured by an e-scooter?

If you’re injured by an e-scooter in one of the areas where the trial scheme is currently running, then that scooter rider should have insurance, which means you can bring a claim against them exactly as if you were hit by a car or motorbike.

If you’re hit by a scooter rider who doesn’t have insurance, the process is different, but you should still be able to make a claim. There is an organisation called the Motor Insurers’ Bureau that deals with claims against drivers who don’t have insurance, essentially stepping in and acting as an insurer for them.

We’ve helped many clients to make a claim to the MIB, so if you’d like more information, then please do contact us.

Can you still make a claim if you’re injured while riding an e-scooter?

If you are involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you are uninsured, you can still make a claim against the other party’s insurance.

Case law suggests that not having insurance is not a sufficient criminal offence to stop you making a claim.

In the case of McCracken v Smith [2015] the claimant was riding pillion on a stolen, unregistered, off-road petrol-powered scooter when it collided with a minibus. The claimant tried to make a claim against the rider of the bike and the minibus driver. The claim against the rider of the bike was unsuccessful as the claimant was party to a joint criminal enterprise but he was still able to make a claim against the minibus driver as he had been driving negligently.

In the case of Wallett v Vickers [2018] the question was raised whether all types of criminal acts mean those involved can’t bring a claim for injuries sustained while doing something criminal. The judge said no, and used the example of careless driving. Although careless driving is a criminal offence it would not prevent someone recovering damages, so it is unlikely this defence would be successful in a case where the crime was having no insurance.

However, if you make a claim it will be self-incriminating, making it likely you will be charged for driving without insurance. Depending on the circumstances and how many points you have on your licence this could lead to the loss of your driver’s licence. For new drivers, six penalty points is enough to have your driver’s licence revoked. This would also increase your insurance costs on any motor vehicle you drive. The police can also seize a vehicle that is being ridden with no insurance, meaning it will be up to you to decide whether making a claim is worth it.

Are there any cases involving e-scooter injuries?

As this is such a new area of law there aren’t any cases involving e-scooter accidents yet, but there are some cases involving accidents on similar methods of transport: –

North Yorkshire Police v Saddington [2000]

In this case, the defendant was riding a “GoPed” without insurance and licence. Charged without insurance, the issue for the court was to determine whether it was a motor vehicle. Marketed as an executive toy, the GoPed was without any of the usual fittings of a road vehicle (reg plates, lights etc). Despite this, the justices found it was intended to be used on the road and if a motor vehicle is intended to be used on the road then it requires insurance and registration.

Winter v DPP [2002]

The claimant was riding a City Bug scooter around roads in London. Although it had pedals attached to front wheel by the claimant, they were there for show as they weren’t attached to a chain. As e-bikes have separate regulations, the rider was trying to disguise it. The Court found this was like a motor vehicle and required insurance to be ridden on the road.

Coates v CPS [2011]

A case involving a Segway where the claimant decided to ride it on pavement and was charged under s72 Highways Act 1835 for riding a motor vehicle on pavement. If a vehicle is intended for use on road then it cannot be used on pavement.

The future of e-scooters in the UK

With e-scooter pilot schemes currently running throughout the South West, including Bristol, Taunton, Bath, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, Southampton and Bournemouth, Enable Law is keeping a close eye on their success, particularly in heavily congested areas.

If you have been a victim of an e-scooter accident which was not your fault, and have suffered personal injury, then we would be pleased to hear from you. We have a team of specialist personal injury lawyers to assist you in seeking compensation and we are able to accept instructions on a no-win no-fee basis.

Contact our team of specialist accident claim experts

Our team have helped many clients who were injured in accidents involving motorised transport like e-scooters.

Contact us today
Deborah Lewis - Enable Law

Deborah Lewis

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Heidi Grute

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