If you’re thinking of giving an e-scooter as a gift after Black Friday or for Christmas , think twice – as this could lead to a £300 fine.
E-scooters have soared in popularity and are now a common sight on UK roads and pavements.
Electric scooters are legal to buy, own and sell – but they can barely be ridden anywhere without breaking the law.
The devices are currently illegal to ride anywhere except on private land, unless an area is taking part in a special e-scooter trial.
Now experts are warning shoppers to be careful before buying them as presents, with the Black Friday sale tomorrow meaning many are hugely discounted online.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said riders face a £300 fine and six points on their licence if they use them on public roads or pavements.
This can also increase the cost of car insurance in the future, and the police are within their rights to seize e-scooters ridden illegally.
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Earlier this year a dad was slapped with a fine of over £1,000 after borrowing his teenage son’s e-scooter to get to a doctor’s appointment.
He said he had “no idea” it was illegal to ride an e-scooter anywhere but on private land, and that the fine was “mental” and “extortionate”.
In September another man was banned from driving for nearly two years after he was caught drink-driving an electric scooter.
The ABI added users are eight times more likely to suffer a head injury than a cyclist.
In 2020 there were 484 casualties involving e-scooters – more than one injury every day on average.
Since 2018 there have been 29 deaths linked to their use.
Consumers are also being warned off e-scooter use in public by Thatcham – the institution which carries out crash safety tests on cars.
Thatcham Research chief strategic research director Matthew Avery said: “In the absence of prompt action, e-scooter travel, which could be 100 times more dangerous than riding a bicycle, will continue to present a real risk not only to users but also to pedestrians, drivers and people living with disabilities.
“Outside of the government trials, it’s illegal to ride an e-scooter on public roads. And while vital safety features are yet to be mandated by regulation, gifting an e-scooter to a loved one this Christmas could see them ending up either in the back of an ambulance or a police car.”
ABI manager, general insurance Laura Hughes said: “We share the government’s vision of a greener and more inclusive transport system.
“But at present, used illegally on the roads and pavements, e-scooters are dangerous to their owners, other road users and pedestrians.
“To help ensure they can reach their potential, it is essential that the government develops robust regulations around their construction and use, so that e-scooter travel can become as safe as possible.”