Electric scooters may cause “carnage” on the road as both riders and vehicle drivers are put at risk of danger and picking up strict penalties. The tools are now legally allowed to be driven on UK roads after the law changed for rental scooters from Saturday.
He has called for drastic changes to come into effect including a “registration scheme” to identify who is riding the scooters at each time.
He revealed e-scooters are classed as a Personal Light Electric Vehicle (PLEV) and are covered by the Road Traffic Act 1988.
This means that similar laws used to prosecute motorists could be used to issue fines to e-scooter riders who break the rules.
However, Mr Freeman has said the legislation is “redundant” if road users cannot be identified and later charged.
He said: “When it comes to e-scooters, the law has teeth but there’s no one to bite.
“Here we have a raft of criminal sentencing under the Road Traffic Act.
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“But what’s the point if you can’t identify the transgressor. Especially if – as they should – they are wearing helmets.”
Mr Freeman has warned by rushing the programme through the Government may be accused of “crowd pleasing” instead of ensuring the law is fit for purpose.
He has called for a string of changes to ensure the safety of riders and drivers including a registration scheme and a simple “proficiency test”.
He says without changes in place the current situation is “one massive accident waiting to happen”.
Mr Freeman said: “Without some kind of registration scheme to identify who might be riding them, those who use an e-scooter, will have licence to flout the law with impunity.
“[This may include] jumping red lights or weaving on and off pavements, which is strictly prohibited but difficult to enforce.
“And with no proficiency test to decide who is capable of using them, the current situation is one massive accident waiting to happen.
“Since E scooters are too small to have a visible number plate, riders should be legally compelled to wear a numbered tabard.
“Operating in the same way as a registration plate with DVLA. And there should also be mandatory insurance.”
The Department for Transport has revealed e-scooter riders must have insurance and a driving licence to apply to take part in the trial scheme.
The DfT says in terms of tracking those using e-scooters, user details including a licence check will be captured by operators
The AA and RAC both believe registration of riders and insurance is the responsibility of the rental company.
The trail will look at whether these rules can be relaxed when further scooter restrictions are relaxed
Lorna Lee, AA campaigns manager told Express.co.uk: “Currently the use of e-scooters is illegal in the UK except for areas taking part in government trials.
“The trials are being run to discover whether they should be legislated for use on our transport system, and if so, how it can be done safely.”
Electric scooters have been allowed on the road to encourage motorists to use alternative modes of transport during the pandemic.
However, just days ago Mr Freeman warned Express.co.uk that the new scooters could become a “nightmare for the motorist”.
He warned that the legal default position would be to issue blame onto the driver in the event of an accident until they can prove they were driving safely.
They could be issued charges if the scooter was nipping in and out between cars or knocked into your car while a driver was momentarily distracted.
Mr Freeman warned prosecutions for motorists could rise as drivers were unable to avoid contact with a scooter and were then blamed for the accident.
The lawyer renewed his concerns that the new tools operate by “stealth and are silent” which could put many at risk.
He has also called for the construction of extra cycle lanes to ensure there is always a distance between motor vehicles and the scooters.
Mr Freeman said: “E-Scooters should only be allowed to operate on dedicated cycle lanes – but, of course, there aren’t enough of these yet.
“These scooters operate by stealth and are silent – so both pedestrians and drivers can`t hear them and often can’t see them.”
Express.co.uk have contacted the Department for Transport and a leading electric scooter hire company about the concerns.
Published at Mon, 06 Jul 2020 06:17:00 +0000