E-scooter safety plea from Trading Standards

23 December 2021

People are being urged to check the law on the use of private e-scooters, and to only buy from reputable suppliers after testing of a number of products on the market found a lack of compliance with UK safety regulations.

The sampling project led by the East of England Trading Standards Association is looking at a number of brands after national concerns were raised about electrical safety compliance as well as the illegal on-street use of private scooters.

Full testing is still to be completed but Norfolk County Council Trading Standards officers are so concerned about the safe and legal use of e-scooters they are alerting consumers to the preliminary findings of the first batch of e-scooters tested. One scooter was found to be fitted with a plug that didn’t meet UK safety standards as it had no fuse. Overall, three quarters of the first batch of e-scooters tested had incorrect documentation, which includes safety warnings, user instructions and traceability information.

The council stressed that there are no safety concerns with either of the government approved scooter models being used in the two official pilots taking place in Norfolk (Beryl in Norwich and Ginger in Great Yarmouth). They remain the safest and only legal way to try an e-scooter on the highway and support the council’s goals to reduce congestion and pollution on shorter journeys.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships, said: “Our Trading Standards Officers are keen to stress the importance of only buying from reputable suppliers and checking that products carry UKCA or CE marks to show they meet UK safety standards. And our expert Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service colleagues are clear that consumers can reduce the risk of fire by not leaving any product, including e-scooters, on charge overnight and not overloading sockets.”

In addition to these safety risks there is a lack of clear information provided on websites and selling platforms related to the legal use of e-scooters. Unless the e-scooter is hired as part of a Government approved trial, electric scooters can only be used on private land. It is illegal to use them on public roads, on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas.

Inspector Simon Jones of Norfolk Police said: “We encourage e-scooter users to follow these safety instructions, to ensure they keep themselves and others safe. We continue to reiterate the laws around the use of private e-scooters, which remain illegal to use anywhere other than private land. We hope that during the run up to Christmas, consumers will take this into account when purchasing such items.

“We continue to engage and educate users and our enforcement approach remains on a case-by-case basis, however repeat offenders will face penalty points or a fine. They could also have their electric scooter seized.”

Beryl, in partnership with local authorities, are currently delivering trial rental schemes in Norwich as well as the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area, and the Isle of Wight.

Phil Ellis, CEO of Beryl, said: "The statistics prove that, when planned correctly with local authorities and stakeholders and with the safety of users and pedestrians treated as paramount, e-scooters can offer fast, clean and inexpensive travel.

“They can also help ease the burden on transport networks and allow for social distancing; but it's important that people recognise the difference between such schemes and the private vehicles that are often bought online and without standardisation.”

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