LONDON (Reuters) – Britain should place stringent regulations on electric scooters if their legal use is widened beyond current government trials, given the number of injuries from illegal vehicles and fire risks from their batteries, insurers said on Thursday.
Trials of shared rental e-scooters are taking place in 31 regions of England this year, according to the UK government.
But privately owned e-scooters are already a familiar sight on city streets, even though their use is illegal outside private land with the landowner’s permission.
There were 882 accidents involving e-scooters in the year ending June 2021, resulting in 931 casualties, of which 732 were e-scooter users, according to government figures.
“Illegal use of e-scooters currently presents a significant risk to riders, pedestrians, and other road users,” said Chris Jones, the International Underwriting Association’s director of legal and market services.
“It is essential that an appropriate and effective regulatory system is introduced at the earliest opportunity.”
Four insurance trade bodies called in a letter to transport minister Grant Shapps for clear standards on e-scooter construction and safety equipment, including on batteries, charging, brakes and lighting, and on whether protective equipment is required.
The e-scooters’ lithium batteries posed a fire risk and their transportation and storage should also be regulated, the trade bodies said.
The government should also look at how e-scooters are parked, to make sure they do not become a safety hazard, they added.
(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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