IE takes a look at the e-scooter trial schemes across Europe and offers some comment;
e-scooters are set to become road legal, except on motorways and busways, as the new Road Traffic Bill makes its way through Parliament. Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “We committed in the Programme for Government to resolving legal barriers to the use of e-scooters, as well as e-bikes, and this Bill will deliver on both of those commitment”.
e-scooters will be restricted to 25Kph under the new laws and using a scooter whilst plugged into an `entertainment device’ will also be against the law. As well as rental scooters, the Irish government looks set to allow private use of e-scooters too, but will these privately owned scooters be insured as they whizz along the cycle lanes? Nobody seems to know at this point ans consultations with different road safety groups continues.
The fabled sity of Stockholm, where e-scooters were embraced as a utopian, greener mode of urban transport for the masses, has suddenly decided the things are a bit of a menace. The city government has now restricted the number of hire scooters to 12,000, down from 23,000. Big cut, and so some operators may pull out of the rentals market there.
The new rrules come into play January 1st there.
OSLO JUST GOT SAFER
Again, a huge cull in numbers, down to 8000, from the previous 20,000 buzzboards. e-scooter use after 11pm is also banned under new by-laws in Oslo. According to The Local Norway this has reduced accidents in Norway’s capital city;
The Emergency Medical Service in Oslo registered 143 injuries in connection with electric scooters in September. In August, the month before measures were brought in, there were 301 injuries.
Compared to the peak of accidents in June, where 436 injuries were recorded, incidents are down by almost two-thirds.
UK TRIALS & ILLEGAL E-SCOOTER USE
Most of the trial schemes set up by various Councils across England and Wales are continuing into 2022. But as everyone knows, there are thousands of illegal, uninsured scooters being used on roads and pavements too. Some accident stats we gleaned online include;
43 scooter related accidents 2019-2020, logged by Berkshire NHS Trusts, given in an FOI request to local media.
Man killed checking on fuel shortages in Stevenage, reports the Daily Express.
Some 484 casualties, including some fatalities, were recorded in 2020 by various UK Police forces, reports the Eastbourne Herald website.
Teenage boy dies earlier this year while riding his scooter with a passenger in the West Midlands, reports the BBC. Very hard to see how the government can legislate against, and enforce, strict rules on illegal e-scooter use.
FRANCE: A BUFFET OF FINES
A range of fines has been introduced to try and enforce the laws passed back in 2020 on e-scooter usage. No headphones, no pavement riding, insurance mandatory and so on.
There is also a limit of 25Kph on top speed, plus you must wear a helmet and carry proof of insurance. Interestingly, you can ride an e-scoooter legally at the age of 12, but of course you can’t ride on the roads on a petrol scooter until you are 16. Unpick that insurance cover riddle if you will.
The pedestrian death toll from e-scooter deaths in Paris stands at three, according to The Local France. Some 78 pedestrians across France were injured by e-scooters in 2020.
For insurers, the road ahead is clear; more trials, more partnership with rental companies. The private use of e-scooters is high risk, and given how easy it is to share the use of the vehicle, the door would be wide open for older people to insure e-scooters for their teenage offspring to use, which in the case of the under 18s could lead to a tsunami of PI and theft claims.
Watch the upsides vs downsides of riding a hire scooter in Nottingham;
The big opportunity is offering PI cover to pedestrians and car drivers in the specific eventuality of being hit by an uninsured e-scooter rider, as their use is bound to increase rapidly as the scooters get cheaper and fuel gets ever more expensive. Maybe tweaking the traditional dental plan approach, where a small fee is paid each month, and it covers a payout for hospital/private treatment costs, time off work, or a lump sum towards property damage?
Of course the difficulty with all this is the hit & run nature of the rogue scooter rider, often hooded up and ready to do one as soon as someone hits the deck.
As IE has noted many times, these things are a menace and will cost hundreds of lives eventually.