Are e-scooters safe? More than 50% of West Midlands residents don’t think so

Birmingham’s e-scooter trial is due to end this month, but figures reveal that residents in the West Midlands region have concerns over the people using them

Love them or loathe them, e-scooters have become part of the tapestry of city life for a while now.

To some they’re an environmentally friendly and efficient way to travel across cities, to others they’re a dangerous blight to our public pathways.

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But according to new research, more than half of those living in the West Midlands strongly believe e-scooters are not safe on public roads and cause traffic accidents.

New figures from National Accident Helpline show that more than half of residents living in the West Midlands believe that e-scooters are not safe on public roads and cause traffic accidents (58%).

In addition, West Midlands Police recorded 12 casualties in 2020, the latest figures from the Department for Transport show.

At least half a dozen people injured by e-scooters in the West Midlands last year

How does this compare to the rest of the country?

Since the launch of e-scooter rental schemes across the UK in 2020, the growing trend of riding them has spread to more than 50 cities and towns across the country.

The research from NAH also shows that consumers would be encouraged to use e-scooters if more safety regulations were introduced.

While e-scooters are currently being trialled in 51 locations, with a few being extended in Newcastle and York until late 2022, 36% of those living in the West Midlands believe there aren’t enough safety regulations in place.

Data shows that people in the West Midlands would be encouraged to use an e-scooter if there were either more safety rules in place (30%), specific lanes for e-scooters (30%), clear rules of usage (26%) and more awareness among drivers (22%).

The Department for Transport reported more than 700 e-scooter injuries, between June 2020 and June 2021, as well as three fatalities, and 882 accidents involving e-scooters were also reported – 173 of these were single vehicle accidents, which is around 20% of all e-scooter accident.

What else do the figures show?

Although it is not clear whether e-scooters will become a permanent mode of transport or even replace bike schemes in the future, nearly half of residents in the West Midlands would like to see wearing a helmet to become a legal requirement for people riding them (42%) following trials.

A total of 37% also stated they’d like legal guidance to be provided on using e-scooters and more than a third would prefer fines or criminal convictions for those caught using an e-scooter without a license (40%).

What’s been said about the figures?

Jonathan White, Legal and Compliance Director at National Accident Helpline, says: “Although e-scooters have become a more attractive transport option, many rental schemes have been put in place without the adequate safety or enforcement measures.

“The accident rates are concerning and we’re calling on the government to introduce more robust enforcement and safety measures to protect all vulnerable road users – particularly as the Government has extended some trials across the UK until late 2022, while legalisation is weighed up.

“We’re also urging e-scooter users to be vigilant when riding them, wear a helmet at all times and keep a safe distance from other road users. It’s important that people are using them responsibly, to keep themselves and others safe.”

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