Electric scooters, or e-scooters, are a relatively new form of transport.
Over the past few years, electric scooters have become an everyday sight on roads in towns and cities all over the UK. Their appeal is self-evident; they are a relatively affordable, low-maintenance and ecologically agreeable way of getting around our towns and cities. To cap it all, they are a quicker and more fun way of doing so, too.
There are many benefits to using electric scooters as a means of transport, but there are also some drawbacks. Many of the negative aspects of e-scooter use involve safety concerns for both e-scooter riders and other road users.
With 1,434 people injured in accidents involving e-scooters in the last year for which statistics are available, the number of people making personal injury claims arising from e-scooter accidents is rising too.
E-scooter collisions frequently result in serious injuries because e-scooter riders lack the physical protection afforded to other motor vehicle road users. Equally, if an electric scooter collides with a pedestrian or cyclist, all parties to the accident risk suffering severe or even fatal injuries.
Mooneerams Solicitors are experts in all types of road traffic accident claims, including e-scooter claims. Call us on 029 2048 3615 if you’ve suffered an injury in an e-scooter accident.
What are e-scooters?
An electric scooter is a motorised version of the pedal scooter that has been around for many years. A rechargeable battery powers the e-scooters motor.
E-scooters also come with various parts, which include a mixture of: handlebars, stem, deck, wheels, tyres, motor, brakes, suspension, tires, lights and a speed controller.
What is the law relating to the ownership and riding of e-scooters in the UK?
Electric scooters are classified as ‘powered transporters’. Government guidance on the use of powered transporters states it is unlawful to use them on:
- public roads
- in dedicated spaces for cyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders
- on pavements.
The law means those electric scooters you see on the roads in our towns and cities are (or should be) only those hired by individuals over 18 years of age from a licensed e-scooter rental company operating as part of a Department of Transport trial scheme. E-scooter trials started during the summer of 2020, and the Department of Transport confirmed the trials may continue until May 2024, after which the government has said it will consider options for bringing in updated and more comprehensive laws concerning the use of e-scooters
To sum up:
- At the moment, although you can legally own one, riding your own e-scooter is illegal anywhere other than on private land and with the landowners permission.
- Riding an e-scooter on the pavement or footpath at the side of a road is against the law.
- Only e-scooters rented out as part of the government-backed trial schemes can be used on public roads.
As e-scooters are ‘mechanically propelled vehicles’, electric scooter riders must abide by the same laws that apply to motor vehicle road users.
These laws require e-scooter riders to have a driving licence, tax, and insurance, and they must also be at least 18 years of age.
I’ve been injured whilst riding an e-scooter I hired from an authorised electric scooter rental company. Can I make an e-scooter accident claim?
As an e-scooter rider, you could be injured in an e-scooter accident in one of several ways:
- Getting knocked off your electric scooter by another road user who:
- Fails to give way to you when emerging from a road junction
- Fails to give way to you when turning across your path
- Opens their door, knocking you from your scooter as you ride past their stationary vehicle
- Collides with you during the process of overtaking
- Fails to notice your presence on their nearside at a road junction and collides with you while turning left as traffic starts to move.
- Suffering injury after falling from your scooter due to a pothole or other road defect
The relatively small wheels fitted to E-scooters make scooter riders susceptible to accidents caused by riding over a pothole or uneven road.
If you are injured because a defect in the road causes you to fall from your electric scooter, you may be able to bring an e-scooter accident claim against the local authority or the Highways Agency responsible for the upkeep of the road.
For your claim to succeed in a pothole claim, you must prove that the relevant authority has failed to comply with its statutory duty to maintain and repair the highway. Pothole and defective road accident claims are usually not straightforward.
If you suffer injury due to falling from your e-scooter whilst riding over a pothole or other defect in the road, call Mooneerams Solicitors on 029 2048 3615. Our personal injury experts have vast experience handling claims for clients injured in pothole accidents.
I’m a pedestrian injured in a road traffic accident caused by an e-scooter rider. Can I make a personal injury claim against the electric scooter rider?
There are several scenarios where you might suffer injury in an e-scooter accident as a pedestrian:
- An insured electric scooter rider riding an insured rental scooter collided with me, and I sustained an injury. Can I claim personal injury compensation from the e-scooter rider?
As long as you can prove the e-scooter driver’s negligence caused him to collide with you and the injuries you suffer from are a direct result of the accident, you can start an e-scooter accident claim.
All e-scooter rental companies operating under the government’s trial scheme must provide third-party insurance to everyone who rents an e-scooter. So, as long as your case against the e-scooter rider is successful, the insurance company will pay out any compensation awarded to you.
- I was knocked over and injured by someone riding an e-scooter on the highway, but they weren’t insured. Can I claim compensation for the injuries I sustained?
The usual rules of proving negligence against the e-scooter will apply. In other words, you must prove the collision was the e-scooter rider’s fault.
However, even if you can show the accident was the electric scooter rider’s fault, often you may struggle to recover compensation where the rider is not insured.
Thankfully, there is still hope for the injured victim of an uninsured e-scooter rider’s carelessness.
The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) exists to compensate the non-fault victims of uninsured or untraced motor vehicles.
Electric scooters are by law classed as motor vehicles. Therefore, if you suffer injury in an e-scooter accident where the rider of the scooter was uninsured, you should still bring a claim against the e-scooter rider. At the same time, you should give notification of the claim to the MIB so that they become obliged to deal with it in place of the uninsured e-scooter rider.
To ensure your claim against an uninsured e-scooter rider has the best chance of succeeding, call one of our personal injury team at Mooneerams now on 029 2048 3615.
I was injured in a non-fault accident when another motorist collided with me while I was riding my e-scooter on the public highway. However, I was riding my own private e-scooter, which was not insured. Can I still claim personal injury against the driver that caused the collision?
It is illegal to ride your e-scooter on anything other than private land, and it’s not possible to obtain insurance for it either.
However, your breach of criminal law by riding an uninsured e-scooter on the road doesn’t mean the negligent driver of a vehicle that collides with you can justifiably argue the accident wasn’t their fault because you had no insurance. Nor can they exempt themselves from a duty to compensate you for injury and losses you sustain in the accident.
The usual rules of the road apply. Drivers owe each other a duty to take reasonable care to avoid causing damage to others who are either using or present on the highway. The standard of care required is the care and skill of an ordinary driver.
If the accident is the other driver’s fault, and you bring a claim for compensation against the negligent driver, there’s a good chance your claim will be successful.
However, also expect to be prosecuted by the police for riding your own e-scooter whilst uninsured and other offences.
What are the most common types of injury associated with e-scooter accidents?
Electric scooter riders have little or no protection from injury if they are involved in an e-scooter accident. Under the current e-scooter trails scheme, riders do not have to wear helmets.
Where the person involved in a collision with an electric scooter is from one of the other vulnerable road user groups, i.e., pedestrians or cyclists, there is also little protection to prevent them from sustaining serious injury. As such, the most likely types of bodily injury suffered by victims of accidents involving an e-scooter include:
How do I start an e-scooter accident claim?
Electric scooter accident claims are relatively new types of personal injury claims, and the law is still evolving. If you are thinking of making an e-scooter accident claim, it’s advisable to let a firm of specialist solicitors handle the claim on your behalf.
At Mooneerams Solicitors, we only handle personal injury claims for claimants, i.e. the person making a claim; we don’t act for insurance companies.
Moooneerams Solicitors were named, Personal Injury Team of the Year at the Wales Legal Awards in 2022. Our personal injury team has over 100 years of combined experience in handling personal injury claims.
We can take on your e-scooter accident claim on a No Win No Fee basis so that you have nothing to pay if your claim is unsuccessful.
Call Mooneerams personal injury solicitors on 029 2048 3615 and speak to one of our team of personal injury experts. By discussing your potential electric scooter accident claim with us, you are not committing yourself in any way, and after hearing what we have to say, the choice is yours as to whether you ask us to start your claim for you (although we hope you do!).
If you prefer, you can contact us online, and after leaving your name and address, we’ll call you back at a time to suit you.