E-scooter deaths triple this year, new figures show, as campaigners call for the British government to pause trials
The number of people killed in electric scooter accidents in the UK has tripled in the past year, new figures reveal.
Data from the UK Department for Transport (DfT) shows that 12 people have been killed in accidents involving electric scooters in the year ending June 2022.
The figure is three times higher than that of the same period in 2021, when four people died.
Meanwhile, the number of people seriously injured by or while using electric scooters has nearly doubled in the past year, from 228 in 2021 to 429 in 2022.
The latest DfT figures come after the death of Linda Davis, 71, who died after being struck by an electric scooter in Nottinghamshire in June.
Ms Davis is believed to be the first pedestrian to be killed in a collision with an electric scooter in the UK.
A 14-year-old boy, who according to witnesses was driving on the pavement when the scooter hit Ms Davies, was questioned by police after the accident. He remains under investigation.
While it is legal to buy electric scooters in the UK, it is illegal to use privately owned devices on roads and pavements. However, private e-scooters can be used on private land.
The government is currently running electric scooter rental trials in 30 different areas of the UK.
DfT is testing schemes, run by private providers such as Voi and Lime, in several major cities, including London, Nottingham and Bristol.
The government recently extended the tests, the results of which will be used to guide future legislation on the use of e-scooters, until May 2024.
What do the activists say?
Following the latest data on deaths and serious injuries, activists have called on the government to immediately halt its trials of electric scooters.
Sarah Gayton, from the UK’s National Federation of the Blind, told Sky News: “These figures should give a strong message to the newly appointed Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper to urgently shut the e-scooter trials down and to rethink new legislation making private e-scooters legal to use on the public highway. They are the tip of the iceberg, as there are many injuries that are going unreported and undocumented for many reasons. These figures are also not capturing the many pedestrians, many of which are older, that are being knocked over or have very close misses with e-scooters being ridden on pavements and public spaces,” reports Sky.
Other activists have called on the government to introduce legislation making it mandatory for electric scooters to have number plates.
Ashe Medforth, 56, whose daughter, Holly, 5, was struck by an electric scooter while walking on the sidewalk and left with three broken ribs and a concussion, is spearheading the Just Put A Reg On It grassroots campaign.
Mr Medforth, who says he supports the use of e-scooters and has been working with officials to develop ways to improve safety, told Sky News: “We are just appalled by these figures. The only way of sorting this is through registration. It is very difficult when an e-scooter rider whizzes past to identify a person. By having a registration, police if they see an e-scooter will be able to immediately know whether it is an illegal scooter,” reports Sky.
According to the latest DfT data, there were 1,349 collisions and 1,437 fatalities involving electric scooters in the year to the end of June 2022.
The toll is up from 978 accidents and 1,033 fatalities recorded the previous year, the start of which the UK spent amid the COVID lockdown.
Men ages 10-19 were the largest demographic in terms of people involved in crashes, followed by men ages 20-29.
And London was by far the most frequent area for e-scooter accidents, with 463 recorded during the year, followed by Nottinghamshire (91) and Avon and Somerset (87).
According to the latest data from the DfT, the ownership status of e-scooters involved in crashes has mostly been listed as “unknown” by the police forces recording the data.
Where data was recorded, 120 of the accidents involved private electric scooters, while 133 involved rented devices.
A number of serious electric scooter accidents have made national headlines this year, including the death of Ms Davis in Nottinghamshire in June.
During the same month, 18-year-old Mason Pitt died in hospital following a crash on a rental scooter in Slough. At an inquest in August, a coroner heard that the teenager died of a neck injury after falling off the scooter.
The spokesman said his customers are “significantly more responsible” than private electric scooter drivers due to the fact that customers must enter their details to use the service.
“Voi wants a level playing field if or when legislation is introduced to legalise private e-scooters by the government, with insurance, number plates and above all, accountability,” Voi’s spokesperson added, reports Sky.
Sky News has also contacted Lime, which provides e-scooter services in London, for comment.
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