To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have been had with (1) Local Authorities, (2) disability charities, and (3) Disabled People’s Organisations, to ensure (a) the effective monitoring of e-scooter pilots, (b) the enforcement of the law regarding e-scooter pilots, and (c) the effective protection of disabled and visually impaired pedestrians.
30 June 2021
The Department has in place a national monitoring and evaluation programme for the e-scooter trials. We will be publishing reports in Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022, with a summary of the evidence collected and reviewed so far by our evaluation contractor, Arup.
This will include high level information on the number of trips; average distance and duration; scooter availability; and demographic information about users, from across the trials.
The evaluation is collecting data on accidents and injuries through surveys with e-scooter users and residents living within trial areas, along with an estimation of e-scooter casualties using free text in the STATS19 database. STATS19 is a collection of all road traffic accidents that resulted in a personal injury and were reported to the police within 30 days of the accident.
Outside the trial areas e-scooters are not currently one of the designated vehicle types collected in STATS19, and as such they would be classed as ‘other’ and can only be identified using a free text field in the STATS19 database.
Data for 2020 are currently being collated and validated. Subject to the data recorded in the free text field being of sufficient quality, the Department intends to publish data on e-scooters and other vehicle types, which can be reliably identified from the free text field alongside the publication of the annual publication of the Reported Road Casualties Great Britain in September 2021.
The Department is not collecting data on the number of e-scooters sold.
It is not illegal to sell an e-scooter, however under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 there is a general obligation for traders to give consumers sufficient information about goods and services at the point of sale, so consumers are not misled. The regulations ban commercial practices through which omissions and actions cause, or are likely to cause, the average consumer to make a decision they would otherwise not make, for example, to purchase goods or a service that they would otherwise not have purchased. The CPRs carry criminal penalties and are enforced by local authority trading standards officers.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) leads on ensuring responsible business practices. However, in December 2018 Ministers from this Department wrote to micromobility retailers to remind them of the law regarding the sale of e-scooters and we are planning to do so again shortly. It is in everyone’s interest that consumers can make properly informed decisions when buying these products.
The vehicle special orders (VSOs) issued to allow the trials to take place, contain the maximum number of e-scooters that are allowed in a trial area. This number is set by the local authority and the e-scooter operator, taking into account local circumstances, and is authorised by the Department. We collect monthly sit-rep reports from the local authorities in the trial areas and these include the size of the current fleet. We do not hold, nor are we collecting, any data on the number of e-scooters in use outside trial areas.
Since July 2020 we have held four e-scooter roundtable meetings with groups representing the interests of disabled people, including those with sight loss. The most recent roundtable was held on 7 June 2021, where three local areas involved in the trials, gave presentations on what they are doing to address the concerns of disabled people in trial areas.
We have instructed all local authorities participating in trials to engage throughout the trial period with these groups in their local areas to ensure their concerns are being heard and, where possible, mitigated. Following our consultation last year, and feedback from subsequent stakeholder activities, we have required all e-scooters used in trials to have a horn or bell so that users can make others aware of their presence. The Department’s guidance for trial areas is also clear that there needs to be sufficient parking provision in trial areas; where a dockless operating model is being used, local authorities should ensure that e-scooters do not become obstructive to other road users and pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities.
The Department has in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme and we have also made additional commitments such as allowing vulnerable road user groups to take part in the evaluation process.
There are offences and penalties for using an e-scooter illegally. Users can be fined up to £300, have 6 points put on their driving licence, and the e-scooter can be impounded. We are speaking with the police about enforcement during trials, and local authorities are speaking to police forces in their areas.