Excessive? That would be an understatement.
Consequently there has been a surge in customers contacting us with their harrowing reports of overzealous policing in their regions. Not only are sensible, safe and considerate electric scooters riders being stopped on their daily commute to work, they are having their beloved e-scooters seized and in some cases even being issued with 6 points on their licence and hit with a hefty fine.
The Metropolitan Police to date have seized nearly 800 privately owned scooters, as reported by the Evening Standard and those found riding a private e-scooter could lose six points on their current or future driver’s licence and be fined up to £300.
In the West Midlands the force is acting after it received complaints about the inappropriate use of e-scooters and said those caught breaching the law face having their scooters seized and up to six penalty points. The West Midlands police force issued the following statement last week:
"We want to make sure the rules around e-scooters are clear," a spokesperson from the force said. "E-scooters are legally available to purchase but it's currently against the law to ride a privately-owned one in any public place in the UK. This includes roads, pavements, parks, within town centres or canal towpaths. The only place a privately owned e-scooter can be used is on private land, with the landowner's permission."
We are getting details of similar crack downs taking place in Bristol, Manchester, Cambridge and Coventry to name just a few.
In all instances where we have spoken with worried customers, they were all riding sensibly, wearing the correct gear and conscious about courtesy to other road users.
A moment to reflect
We have been monitoring this space closely, but the reality of the situation is that in the absence of clear and sensible regulation regarding the use of e-scooters on our roads, the police are using a rusty sledgehammer (Road Traffic Act 1988) to crack a nut.
We want to make sure the rules around e-scooters are clear. E-scooters are legally available to purchase, but it's currently against the law to ride a privately-owned one in any public place in the UK. This includes roads, pavements, parks, within town centres or canal towpaths.
Like every other player in the e-scooter and micro-mobility space, we find these tactics extremely harsh, unnecessarily excessive, and absolutely disproportionate. So we're using our platform to effect some positive change.
Call us cynical but the timing of this ‘crackdown’ seems a little suspect too. It just so happens to coincide with the start of rental trials by big scooter firms like Lime, Dott and Tier who have now started to operate in and around central London.
There are thousands of people, who during the hardships of the pandemic decided to purchase an electric scooter so that they could continue to keep the country going whilst the Government flapped and flailed in and out of (often mistimed) lockdowns and over-expensive test & trace protocols. Now that we are getting back to some sense of normality, those same hard-working people are now being targeted.
The UK lags embarrassingly behind the rest of the world when it comes to regulating electric scooters and micro-mobility vehicles for use on public highways.
We will be writing to Grant Shapps, TfL and the Department for Transport asking them to speed up their process in updating our outdated Road Traffic Act as well as asking them to curb the crackdown and the handout of disproportionately harsh penalties on people who are just trying to get on with their lives.
How can you help?
Take 5 minutes from your day to pledge your name to this parliamentary petition.
Also, we’ll be attending the Protest to Legalise e-Scooters organised by the Electric Scooters UK Facebook group. It’s on June 26th 2021 from 9am – 3pm at Parliament Square, London, SW1P3, UK. Come and show your support!