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E-scooter road casualty statistics revealed for the first time

road traffic accident

Annual road casualty statistics for Great Britain show the number of people injured and killed using e-scooters for the first time.

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) figures show that there were 484 casualties involving e-scooters in 2020, of which one person was killed, 128 were seriously injured and 355 slightly injured.

E-scooter firms were given the go-ahead by the Government to start trials on UK roads in July 2020, with schemes being set up with local authorities across the country as people looked for alternatives to public transport, because of Covid-19.

However, road safety charity IAM RoadSmart says that the results of these pilot schemes have been repeatedly delayed, meaning a full review has yet to be conducted.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “By delaying yet again the results of the pilot schemes we have another Christmas looming where people will be buying and using a totally unregulated form of transport in the UK. 

“The pilots were launched in July 2020 and are now not due to finish until March 2022, plus the time required after that for analysis and legislation – this has taken far too long in our opinion.”

In the meantime, Greig says the police should make it clear that anyone caught riding an e-scooter outside private land or a trial area will have their vehicle seized immediately.

“E-scooters may have a role to play in the future transport mix, but this can only happen once their legal status has been made completely clear and that cannot happen soon enough,” he added.

Road deaths and casualties during 2020   

DfT figures from the Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2020 report show that last year 1,460 people were killed on Britain’s roads, which is a fall of 17% compared with the figure in 2019.

In 2020, there were also 115,584 reported road casualties of all severities, which was a fall of 25% from the previous year.

However, during much of 2020, the UK was in lockdown and the RAC estimate that miles travelled in the country were 21% down on the previous year.

Data from the DfT also shows that in 2020, 141 cyclists were killed in road accidents. This was up 41% from 100 deaths in the previous year. The number of children killed on Britain’s roads also increased, from 49 in 2019 to 52 in 2020.

David Walker, head of road and leisure safety at RoSPA, said: “By any measure 2020 was an abnormal year. It is of no surprise that the overall number of road casualties fell. This is in no small part due to less traffic on the roads.

“With traffic levels returning to pre-pandemic levels and some understandable reluctance towards using public transport, we must today continue to focus on the harm to motorists and more significantly, from motorists.”

He continued: “We welcome the fact that more people have been getting out on their bikes and recognise the reduction in the rate of deaths per mile travelled. However, this should not distract from the shocking fact that more cyclists and more children died on our roads than in the previous year.

“At RoSPA we believe that having more cyclists and pedestrians should not result in an increased number of serious and fatal accidents involving vulnerable road users.

“We must continue to act decisively if we want to maintain the position of British roads being among the safest in the world.”

With travel restrictions in place throughout 2020, there was a huge increase in the number of people electing to use active travel such as walking and cycling.

According to the DfT‘s Road Traffic Estimates in Great Britain 2020, pedal cycle traffic was up by 45.7% from the previous year.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “It is clear that the lockdown travel restrictions during the pandemic helped the year-on-year fall in road deaths.

“Rather than simply accept this as a dip in the records, we should use this moment as the catalyst to reset ‘zero’ road deaths as the target for the end of the decade.”

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