Pressure is mounting on the police and the government to enforce the e-scooter law amid fears that a million could be in use by the end of the year.
Members of the House of Lords urged ministers to take action ahead of further trials of electric scooter rental programs from London in June.
Scooters are feared to become a ‘threat’ after a wave of injuries related to their use have been reported.
Private scooters are not allowed to travel on public roads, even in areas where trials are underway, but their use has nevertheless become widespread.
Peers yesterday urged the government to introduce “proper regulation” of electric scooters before the next tests start, given their heavy use on sidewalks, parks and roads.
Calls have been made for mandatory training and a registration and insurance system to identify runners in the event of an accident.
Home Secretary Susan Williams stressed that police can already issue fixed penalty notices of £ 50 for people walking on sidewalks.
She added that she hopes the ongoing trials will help resolve many of the issues raised. All scooters used in testing are registered and can be tracked, she said.
Speaking to the Lords, Jenny Randerson, a Liberal Democrat counterpart, said local authorities had reported 800 incidents involving e-scooters, including serious injuries to a three-year-old walking on the sidewalk.
She urged Baroness Williams to ‘urgently review’ the ongoing trials and ‘speed up the introduction of appropriate regulations and penalties across the UK’.
Baroness Williams said ‘one injury was too many’ and ‘to that end, Metropolitan Police seized over 1,000 electric scooters in the two years leading up to April of this year’.
As part of the 50 ongoing tests, there are over 7,500 rental scooters in operation, which can travel up to 30 mph.
Many more have been purchased privately and are already being driven on the roads of London and other major cities.
During the debate, some peers argued that since e-scooters are ‘here to stay’, it would be better to legalize them all and focus on regulation.
Lord Berkeley of the Labor Party claimed cyclist groups told him there would be a million e-scooters illegally on UK roads by the end of the year and he feared the government has already “ lost the race ”.
He called for resources to be focused on law enforcement to prevent them from being driven on the roads and speeding.
It comes after Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said e-scooters are becoming a threat and the government should halt trials until they are made safer.
“Reckless drivers are becoming a threat on our roads and sidewalks, ignoring the law and causing dangers to other road users,” he said.
“We urgently need decisive action now on their future, as we risk losing control of the problem and placing additional burdens on policing.
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