Anti-social use of e-scooters seen by most people – study

More than 3,600 residents in England were surveyed about e-scooters in 10 areas hosting trials of rental schemes.

A police officer talks to an e-scooter rider
A police officer talks to an e-scooter rider

Electric scooter riders engaged in anti-social behaviour such as racing each other and performing dangerous stunts has been witnessed by the vast majority of people, according to a Government-commissioned study.

More than 3,600 residents in England were surveyed about e-scooters in 10 areas hosting trials of rental schemes.

Some 93% of respondents reported seeing at least one form of anti-social behaviour by users of either rental or private e-scooters.

The most common issues witnessed were the devices being used on pavements (86%) and riders going too fast (77%).

Other forms of misbehaviour observed included riders racing each other (43%), performing dangerous tricks (32%) and snatching valuables from pedestrians (13%).

The survey was part of a study by professional services company Arup and social research organisation NatCen Social Research, which were commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT).

A poll of more than 6,800 e-scooter users indicated that a fifth (22%) admit to riding on the pavement, despite 94% understanding that is not permitted.

Interviews with local authorities, police forces and operators delivering rental trials found that people riding e-scooters while drunk is a “common cause of collisions”, according to the report.

Other types of “improper” riding highlighted include users jumping red lights, performing wheelies – a maneuver in which the front wheel comes off the ground – and wearing headphones.

A DfT spokesman said: “Safety is at the heart of our e-scooter trials which aim to protect riders, pedestrians and other road users, and we continue to work with local authorities to ensure the trials are as safe as possible.

“This report highlights the benefits that e-scooters provide like affordable, low emission travel, and we continue to monitor data from the trials to make sure they run effectively.”

Separate DfT figures show one pedestrian was killed and 62 were seriously injured in collisions with e-scooters in Britain during the 12 months to the end of June.

A further 180 suffered minor injuries.

Eleven e-scooter users died in crashes over the same period.

The death toll for 2022 increased on December 6 when 12-year-old Mustafa Nadeem died after the e-scooter he was riding collided with a bus in Birmingham.

Private e-scooters are banned in the UK but are often used on public roads and pavements.

Legal trials of rental e-scooters on roads in dozens of towns and cities across England have been extended until May 2024.

To rent an e-scooter, riders must be at least 16-years-old and hold the correct driving licence.

In its response to the Arup and NatCen Social Research report, the DfT said it will “learn lessons from this evaluation and we look forward to releasing further information on the future policy around e-scooters and similar light electric vehicles”.

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