With e-scooter trials taking place across the UK and Ireland, a lot of people are now wondering how safe this method of transportation is and whether it will become more widespread in the future. A number of accidents have been reported to date, and there are concerns over whether they should be made legal or not.
It is hoped that e-scooters could provide an environmentally way for us to get around, while relieving some of the traffic congestion that blights our towns and cities. While riding a privately-owned e-scooter on a public road is still classed as illegal, you can hire one using the government scheme that involves unlocking an e-scooter using a mobile app.
Some UK cities began to roll out this scheme in 2020, while London joined it in June 2021. In Ireland, Dublin City University has been involved in the AI-led research pilot that started in April of this year, that will use 30 scooters to determine how these vehicles can be integrated into the plans for making Dublin a smart city.
There have been concerns raised over the safety of e-scooters, particularly since a number of accidents involving them have been reported in various cities. There are strict controls in place to ensure that people only use rental scooters rather than their own vehicle, and that they use them in a responsible manner.
The vehicles that are covered under these trials have a power rating of 500w and they can’t go faster than an average of about 15.5 mph, although the maximum speed that is allowed varies by region. A full driving license is needed to ride one, while the use of a helmet is recommended. These trials will continue until May 2022.
Current reports suggest that there have been more than 800 accidents since the trials began, with the majority seemingly involving scooters and pedestrians. In some cases, the rider was found to be responsible due to being distracted by mobile phones, being drunk, or some other issue. More than 120 people have already been banned from using e-scooters.
It should be remembered that any accident involving an e-scooter may result in a claim with personal injury solicitors for the damage caused to anyone involved in it. If the injured party is partly or fully to blame for the accident, their claim may be affected as they will be seen as having a degree of contributory negligence.
It seems possible that e-scooters provide us with a clean, reliable way to get around in the future. However, a lot currently depends upon the outcome of the trials that are being run, as transport experts look for the safest way to incorporate these vehicles into our lives.
The number of accidents may rise in line with an increased number of e-scooters being used in the future. Yet, there is also a chance that these incidents become less common as we begin to get used to handling them and to come across them as we walk or drive around.