‘Perfect storm’ insurance warning as injuries on Scottish electric scooters set to increase

They also fear a “perfect storm” of pedestrians injured by uninsured users having more difficulty in making claims than if they had been struck by a car.

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Unlike many English cities, there are no trial electric scooter rental programs in Scotland, although Glasgow is on several boards that are considering them.

A woman was injured on the first day of an electric scooter rental trial in Portsmouth in March.  Photo: John Hargreaves

A woman was injured on the first day of an electric scooter rental trial in Portsmouth in March. Photo: John Hargreaves

The Forum of Insurance Lawyers Scotland said many runners not wearing helmets increased the risk.

Forum member Vikki Melville, who is also Managing Partner for Scotland at Clyde & Co, said: “The sight of electric scooters is likely to become ubiquitous.

“No purchase restrictions, despite the current illegality of their use on public roads, fuel increased use.

“While the Scottish Police have issued numerous warnings, the message is not getting.

A woman in a black coat backs up to avoid being hit by an electric scooter after the driver loses control on a sidewalk. Photo: UK National Federation of the Blind

“Although Scotland currently has no test rental program planned, concerns elsewhere in the UK about increasing accidents are equally valid here.

“As summer approaches, expect to see more accidents involving electric scooters, often causing serious injury to cyclists and pedestrians.

“Bikers are often seen without a helmet, which suggests a certain complacency about the damage an electric scooter can cause to themselves or to others. “

Ms Melville said the forum, which represents Scotland’s top 14 insurance law firms, was also ‘important’ given the lack of clarity on insurance coverage for electric scooters.

A pedestrian forced to back up to prevent an electric scooter from traveling illegally on a sidewalk. Photo: UK National Federation of the Blind

She said that while operators were responsible for insurance in rental programs, illegal users without license plates and insurance had the potential “to create the perfect storm.”

Ms Melville said: “Perversely, people injured by illegally operated electric scooters may find a claim more complicated than if they had been struck by a larger vehicle.”

“The government and regulators urgently need clarity on how electric scooters should be integrated into existing transportation regulations and insurance pricing structures. “

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Electric scooters are still illegal on Scottish roads – but what’s it like …

Many electric scooter riders do not wear helmets despite the risk of injury. Photo: John Devlin

In one case, a marathon runner unable to exercise after being struck by a teenager on an electric scooter awaits compensation six months later.

The Liverpool man, 42, said: “I’m 6ft 5in and 16 stone tall but got hit from behind and wiped out.

“I suffered injuries to the soft tissues, ligaments and tendons in my knee, hip and groin.

“I usually run 50 miles a week but haven’t done anything since.”

Conor Kenny, lawyer at Thompsons Solicitors Scotland, said: “The current position of electric scooters is not helping everyone.

“They are legal for purchase, but illegal for use in public spaces. “

But Simon Hammond, partner at law firm Digby Brown, said: “Although electric scooters are relatively new, a pedestrian injury claim is difficult, but not impossible.

“Depending on the terms of the policies, it might be possible to make a claim against an electric scooter driver’s home or vehicle insurance, but if he is driving illegally, an insurer cannot compensate the driver.”

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at Automotive Group IAM RoadSmart, said: “The lawyers are absolutely right.

“By further delaying the results of the [English] pilot projects, we have yet another summer looming where people will buy and use a completely unregulated mode of transport in Scotland.

“The pilots were launched in July 2020 and are not expected to end until March 2022, plus time for analysis and legislation afterwards.

“It took way too long.

“Scottish Police should make it clear that anyone caught driving an electric scooter outside private property will have their vehicle seized immediately.”

Scottish Deputy Police Chief Simon Bradshaw, Road Police Superintendent, said in March: ‘There will be some places where this will be a problem, but it’s not a big deal – for now. “

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