The number of collisions involving e-scooters on London’s streets reported to the Metropolitan Police has risen dramatically compared with three years ago, prompting a London Assembly Member (AM) to warn that the illegal use of such vehicles is putting Londoners “at risk of significant harm”, particularly those with impaired sight, hearing and physical mobility.
The Met recorded 258 collisions involving e-scooters during the first six months of 2021 compared with 266 for the whole of 2020, 38 throughout 2019 and just nine in 2018.
The figures, obtained by Labour AM Unmesh Desai, reflect the growth in the use of e-scooters, which cannot be ridden legally on London’s roads unless they are hired under a trial rental scheme introduced last summer in a small number of boroughs.
Desai expressed concern that the collision figures “are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg” and urged Londoners to stick to the legal trial vehicles, which are available in Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Richmond, Tower Hamlets, Westminster, the City, Southwark and part of Lambeth under a scheme launched by Transport for London and London Councils.
Illegal e-scooters have become a familiar sight in the capital and are often ridden on pavements at speed. As well as expressing concerns about safety, Desai said he was encouraged by “the scale of enforcement action taken by TfL and the Met so far”. The Met says 3,637 privately-owned and therefore illegal e-scooters were were seized by their officers between January and November 2021.
Owners can get their e-scooters back if they pay a removal charge of £150 plus a storage charge of £10 a day. If the vehicle is not collected within a fortnight it is disposed of. Privately-owned e-scooters, along with e-unicycles, cannot be taken on public transport under a ban introduced by TfL last month due to fire safety concerns.
Photo from Centre for London.
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