The road safety charity IAM RoadSmart is warning that a rise in the use of electric scooters alongside vehicles on UK roads will be bad news for road safety.
The Department for Transport (DfT) published its Future of Mobility Urban Strategy, yesterday (Tuesday, March 19).
It is described as the biggest regulatory review in a generation to explore regulation around new transport modes.
The Government has earmarked a £90 million fund to select towns and cities as test-beds for new mobility services, and will explore regulations around new types of vehicles including e-scooters and e-cargo bikes.
However, IAM RoadSmart believes that e-scooters and their increasing popularity will lead to many people riding them on public roads alongside bigger and faster vehicles – putting individuals, including the scooter users themselves, in great danger.
The charity has welcomed the long-term approach to transport planning by the Government, but says that new modes of transport need dedicated routes to be truly safe.
It added that there is a great need for users of e-scooters to embark on some level of basic rider training and awareness before they start.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Electric scooters are simply not safe enough to be on our roads alongside full size vehicles.
“Mixing with pedestrians is also potentially very unsafe in shared areas. As with cycling, the answer probably lies in dedicated safe infrastructure for vulnerable road users. Allied to that there is an urgent need for more for rider training and clarification of their legal status.”
He concluded: “While we welcome this potentially useful announcement, transport changes and trends are happening far faster than the network is developing to accommodate them.
“This ought to have happened a long time ago, and so should be implemented as a matter of urgency.”