In the latest electric scooter accident to hit the headlines, an Italian woman was killed after being hit by an e-scooter while walking along the Seine in Paris. She was knocked over and hit her head on the pavement, suffering a cardiac arrest and later died in hospital. The two female e-scooter riders did not stop at the scene of the accident, and French police have opened an investigation into “murder, aggravated by failure to stop”.
E-scooters are becoming a common sight in towns and cities including London, which launched a 12-month rental trial earlier this month. Pilot schemes have taken place in more than 40 locations across the UK, as the government considers legalising their use on UK roads. E-scooters are popular among the young (the minimum age to legally ride one in 14), commuters, tourists and those looking for an ecological and quick way to get around urban areas. The main problem is the risk they pose to other road users, particularly pedestrians, as the recent tragic case in Paris illustrates.
While it is illegal to ride privately owned e-scooters on roads, cycle lanes and pavements, rented electric bikes and scooters can be used on roads and cycle lanes. This is just one example of the confusion surrounding their use. The speed limit for e-scooters in the UK is 15.5mph (25km/h), but many are available to buy which can travel much faster, and it is also relatively easy to increase their speed using a conversion kit. Earlier this year, French police stopped a man riding an e-scooter at 61mph (98km/h), which shows the scale of the challenge in enforcing the law.
Many e-scooter riders are unaware of the rules regarding their use or else simply disregard them. A trial scheme in Coventry was suspended after five days due to riders using e-scooters in pedestrianised areas, including on pavements and in shopping centres. E-scooters are clearly fun to ride leading to irresponsible use among a minority, while rented e-scooters are often hired by tourists and others who are not regular riders, and are therefore unable to use them safely or unaware of where they are permitted to ride them.
If you are a cyclist or pedestrian and have been injured in an accident involving an e-scooter, contact our firm for expert legal advice from solicitors who are themselves cyclists, and have many years of experience with all types of cycling accident claims.