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Think twice before buying a Christmas present that could be seized, says GEM

Think twice before buying a Christmas present that could be seized, says GEM

ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist says safety must be the priority for policymakers as they consider future regulations for private e-scooters.

Speaking in support of a report on private e-scooter safety from the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) published 31 October 2021, GEM chief executive, Neil Worth, called for a thorough exploration of the risks faced by riders of private e-scooters as well as the risks they pose to other road users.

“We know that lawfully used e-scooters have a number of positive benefits, including portability and eco-friendliness,” he said. “But there are safety concerns that apply to any e-scooter, primarily because of the small wheels and high centre of gravity which make the riders vulnerable if they lose control of their vehicle. It is also more difficult to perform an emergency stop without brake levers on a scooter.

“Licensed hiring organisations typically require riders to undertake some form of safety briefing before their first ride, and there is always a visible registration plate on a legally-rented machine. Furthermore, speeds are restricted to 15.5mph.

“There are various reasons why private e-scooters are less safe. They are not road legal, they won’t have speed restrictors (the readily-available Qiewa Q Power model costing around £1850 boasts a top speed of 55mph) and their riders are unlikely to concern themselves with protective equipment such as helmets.

“We support the PACTS call that evaluation of rental e-scooter schemes is not sufficient to inform legislation decisions on any future use of private e-scooters.”

It is currently illegal to ride a private e-scooter in a public place. However, there were more than 350,000 sales of private e-scooters in the UK last year, and they have become common sights in city streets and spaces across the country.

GEM is encouraging parents in the run-up to Christmas to think carefully before buying e-scooters as presents. “Remember, the use of private e-scooters on public roads is illegal and only the e-scooters that are approved by Department for Transport are permitted to be used within limited zones as part of Government trials,” concluded Neil Worth. 

“We therefore urge parents to carefully consider buying e-scooters as Christmas presents, or risk them being seized by the police.”

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