Police issue warning over illegal riding of e-scooters

Police in Watford and Three Rivers are cracking down on the illegal use of privately-owned electric or ‘e-scooters’ after a rise in reports across both areas.

In Watford, the machines are being used most often on the High Street and in Three Rivers, the hotspots have been identified as Uxbridge Road and Rickmansworth High Street, as well as the Mill End area.

The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that it is illegal to use a powered transporter in spaces that are set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders; this includes on the pavement and in cycle lanes unless insured.

Electric scooters are motor vehicles, but are not legal for road use and therefore cannot be insured.

They can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission.

The Government recently announced plans to introduce e-scooter rental trials in some parts of the UK, in order to ease the burden on public transport and allow for easier social distancing.

Detective Inspector Stewart Moulding said: “Recently, there have been increased reports of e-scooters being ridden illegally in both Three Rivers and Watford and I want to reiterate how dangerous these vehicles can be.

“Sadly, there has been national media coverage of a fatality involving one of these machines so we are asking the public to consider the dangers before purchasing them, either for themselves or their children. If parents cause or permit their children to ride them in public, they can also fall foul of the law which in turn could affect their own driving licence.

“If you are caught riding an e-scooter on a public highway, pavement or cycle lane it could be seized by police. You could also be reported for driving offences that could lead to significant penalty points and a fine, which will be sufficient to potentially ban an individual from driving other vehicles – whether you currently hold a current driving licence or not.

“Additional motoring offences such as driving on the pavement or failing to stop for a police officer in uniform could lead to further penalties.

“I want to reassure the public that if we see an e-scooter being ridden in a public place, we will engage with and educate the rider on the laws around these machines. We will not hesitate to seize the scooter if appropriate, and report the rider for appropriate offences.

“The local teams are engaging with the retailers that sell these machines, and they have advised us that they inform any purchasers that they cannot be used on a public road.”

However, it is important to note that the proposed change in legislation will apply only to e-scooters legally used as part of trials, for the duration of the trials. E-scooters not used as part of the trials will remain illegal on the road, in cycle lanes and tracks, and on pavements.

The full Government legislation on e-scooters can be found here.