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Tougher E-scooter restrictions required to protect the public if use on roads is legalised, poll says


Tougher E-scooter restrictions required to protect the public if use on roads is legalised, poll says

  • If e-scooters were to be legalised on all UK public roads, nearly two thirds of UK adults want stricter safety measures including speed limits and a ban from use on pavements
  • Four in five (79%) of people believe e-scooters pose a threat to pedestrian safety, while almost three quarters (74%) are worried about the risk to other road users 

E-scooters must face stricter safety rules and a licensing system similar to other motorised vehicles if they are legalised for use on the UK’s roads, according to a new survey of the UK public by Keoghs LLP.

The YouGov Plc online survey of 2,094 UK adults (aged 18+) showed that almost two thirds (65%) want to see a maximum speed limit installed on e-scooters, while seven in ten (71%) believe helmets should be mandatory for riders.

Age restrictions (68%) and a licencing system for riders (63%) also had widespread support in the YouGov online survey, along with a ban on e-scooter use on pavements and in pedestrianised areas (68%) if e-scooters were to be legalised for use on all UK public roads.

However, just 25% of respondents said that e-scooters should only be available through private hire schemes and not privately owned, if they are legalised.

When questioned on safety, participants were most concerned about pedestrian safety (79%), followed closely by the safety of other road users (74%) and the safety of e-scooter riders (64%). Young people (aged 18-24), were significantly less likely to be concerned about the safety threats posed by legalising e-scooters on all roads in the UK, with 59% of those aged 18-24 stated concern about pedestrian safety compared to 90% of over 55’s.

The new figures suggest that if the legal status of private e-scooters were to change for public roads, there would be significant concerns about how they should be regulated in order to keep all road users and pedestrians safe.

Keoghs, one of the UK’s largest defendant law firms specialising in motor insurance, are calling on the Government to deliver a clear plan for the prospective legalisation of e-scooters, to provide clarity and to protect members of the general public.  This is increasingly important as the number of e-scooters on the roads and highways continues to rise (with DfT figures suggesting there are over 750,000[1] privately owned in the UK), along with the number of e-scooter related accidents - with 882[2] accidents reported involving e-scooters in the year ending June 2021.

Natalie Larnder, Head of Market Affairs at Keoghs said: “As the number of e-scooters on our roads increases, we urgently need the Government to properly address the laws around how they can be used safely. It’s clear that road users are concerned about safety and want an end to the “wild west” created by the lack of proper regulation or clarity on how and where e-scooters can be used. Failure to address these points is leaving the public understandably concerned about the risk of e-scooters to pedestrians, other road users or to e-scooter riders themselves.”

Road-users may have been further confused around the legal use of e-scooters following the latest Highway Code update introducing a ‘hierarchy’ of road-users which appeared to omit e-scooters entirely.

The updated code is designed to ensure particular vehicle types have a responsibility to reduce danger and threats posed to others, but has already attracted criticism for failing to include e-scooters in the new measures.

 [1] Written questions and answers - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament
[2] Reported road casualties Great Britain: e-Scooter factsheet year ending June 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2094 adults, of which 232 are aged 18-24 and 845 are aged 55+. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th - 14th December 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Natalie Larnder

Natalie Larnder
Head of Market Affairs


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