Brighton MP blasts e-scooter clampdown and calls for trial

Posted On 24 Nov 2021 at 1:10 pm

Police stopping an e-scooter rider on Church Road in Hove today

A Brighton MP has called for e-scooters to be made legal so that police can stop “wasting precious time” clamping down on them.

A handful of cities are trialling e-scooter hire schemes, but Brighton and Hove did not apply to take part.

Earlier this month, Sussex Police announced it was continuing to clamp down on their use, saying they were being used by drug dealers.

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Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said if we were part of a trial, their use could be better regulated rather than attempting to get them off the roads.

And he criticised the Green administration for concentrating on “annoying motorists” instead of embracing the new technology.

He said: “Brighton didn’t want it because (and this is what Green councillors told me informally) it doesn’t take enough people out of the car and some people who would walk or bike would change to a scooter instead (so obsessed are they are only doing things that annoy motorists).

“Instead pressure is put on police to “clamp down” on something that is legal in other areas of UK, wasting precious police time.

“Accidents (and I’m afraid deaths) will happen in all modes of transport. The worst thing to do is ban it and just have people following no rules.

“The claim that drug dealers use them is just a pathetic claim. Yes they do, and they use cars, they use motor bikes, they use taxis – we should clamp down on the drug dealing that’s ruining communities, not a distraction of the mode of transport they use.”

Two types of trial are allowed under the Government trials, short term and long term.

The short term ones, where scooters are docked or left in designated areas, require a provisional driving licence and the company covers insurance so if there’s an accident there’s evidence and insurance.

The long-term hires allow riders to lease the scooter for a month at a time, so they can store it and use it as they wish. Again, a provisional licence is required and insurance is included in the hire cost.

In both, scooters are required to use designated areas and roads – and in Bristol on-board camera technology physically stops the scooter going on pavements and parks or main roads.

Mr Russell-Moyle said: “It makes riding safer, accessible and gets people out of cars or buses.”

A Green spokeswoman said the administration agreed with Mr Russell-Moyle that something needs to be done – but it was important to learn from the trials – and in the meantime, concentrate on current transport policies such as walking, cycling and public transport.

She said: “Lloyd is right to suggest that the government ‘ban’ is seriously lagging behind the huge increase in demand and popularity of e-scooters across the UK. We agree something needs to be done nationally.

“In summer 2020, cities could request to be part of a government-backed e-scooter trial that would only be rolled out in a handful of places. The initial application window also covered the period before the Greens had taken over the running of the council.

“We’ve been clear on our transport priorities for a safer, healthier city – walking, cycling and public transport, as well as rolling out electric vehicle charging. E-scooters have potential to form a key part of local transport, but with no legal framework for their use, we’re committed to our focus on these important transport priorities.

“It’s vital we learn from the results of the permitted e-scooter trials. Residents have already raised concerns based on issues in other cities; like what happens when scooters are ‘dockless’ and dumped on the pavement, and what responsibilities private rental companies will have towards our communities and environment.

“There’s also no assurance that government will support councils with the improved transport infrastructure that may be needed to enable widespread safe e-scooter use.

“We also want to balance future needs with support for our current, popular transport providers like the Bikeshare. So we are aiming to include a specification for an e-scooter add on, once e-scooters are made legal on the public highway, in future Bikeshare procurement tender documents.

“Until new laws are brought forward by government, e-scooters are sadly still illegal for use, and only national legislation can change that. In the meantime we’re focused on delivering positive transport improvements for our residents.”

A police spokesman said: “Sussex Police issued renewed advice to e-scooter riders earlier this month. Across the country there are Future Transport trials taking place, with the aim of gaining further insight into the environmental, health, and safety benefits of these types of vehicles.

“Currently there are no areas in Sussex taking part in these trials and e-scooters remain illegal to use on public roads.”

  1. Max Reply

    The Labour MP for Kemptown is correct in saying that “Accidents (and I’m afraid deaths) will happen in all modes of transport”. But while he seems to think that helping to make walking and cycling easier and safer is only done to annoy motorists, he also fails to acknowledge that every single road death between 2015 and 2019 in his own constituency involved motor vehicles – the vast majority of them being cars.
    The fact that he still calls them “accidents” shows how out of touch he is. The police stopped using that term years ago because it avoided the fact that someone, somewhere has done something wrong in virtually every instance. They are “collisions”.

    • Ben Reply

      Would hardly call it out of touch for getting a term wrong.

      • Max Reply

        What would you call it?

  2. Bear Road resident Reply

    Still waiting to see this ‘clamp down’ – encountered three of these anti-social menaces barrelling along the pavement within half an hour today all of them expecting pedestrians to get out of their way even if it meant stepping into the road.
    As usual Mr Lloyd Russell-Moyle demonstrates his complete ignorance of the inconvenience and danger many elderly people are subjected to on a day by day basis by these contraptions and the antics of rogue cyclists. One day you’ll be old yourself Lloyd Russell-Moyle and probably wondering why you feel so unsafe walking around Brighton…

    • David Harris Reply

      Exactly. I live in an area with many retirement blocks and these scooter users are whizzing by in the middle of the road and on pavements at over 20 mph and it’s scaring the life out of people. What’s the point of them being illegal?

  3. Ben Earl Reply

    Is Max a Pharisee or a Sadducee, I wonder? They may have been collisions, but I don’t recall any of them being deliberate crashes, other than one, when Iftekhar Khondaker drove into Suel Delgado in Dec 2019.
    So, even though a pedestrian, rider or driver may have made a mistake (done something wrong), the crash (or collision) was genuinely an accident.
    Max sounds like one of the Green disablists who do seem to delight in annoying drivers, even though many of those drivers have valid reasons for being in a car, van or lorry, aside from choice.

    • Some Guy Reply

      “Accident” tends to imply that the collision is just one of those things, and no action is needed. While malice is rarely aforethought, as you point out, the people involved are often guilty of some negligent act or other and blame should be apportioned.

    • Max Reply

      “Collision” doesn’t apportion blame or suggest intent. “Accident” suggests there is no human agency, even though 99.9% of incidents are caused by someone. It’s important to acknowledge that someone made a mistake, not necessarily to apportion blame but to be able to take steps to prevent similar collisions in the future. That’s why those responsible for road safety, including the Home Office and the police, have said “collision” for years, as do most of the media.

      • Verity Reply

        Calling something an accident doesn’t absolve the person who caused the accident of blame
        The bizarre pickiness over wording just deflects time and attention away from the substantive issue and reflects a petty mindset imho

  4. bradly Reply

    the sooner the scooters get off the pavements the better

  5. IanB Reply

    Bit embarrassing for L M-R MP that the failure to apply for one of these trials happened while Labour were in control of the Council. Presumably he will now revise his press release. What a shame that the publication that includes “News” in its title just copied out his statement without checking the facts.

    • craig Reply

      haha if you can’t trust an mp…

  6. Valerie Reply

    Thoughtless, Russell. Truly thoughtless.

  7. Nathan Adler Reply

    Totally agree with LRM, other parts of the South coast Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth all have trials and we do not because officers are so blinkered by a pro cycling anti everything else approach. If scooters help people, (some of those who cannot cycle), out of their cars what is the issue? Proper regulation would see safety for everyone involved. The sheer proliferation of these shows they are popular and ready to be embraced by the general population as they are across Europe, America and Asia.

  8. Mark Reply

    Do they ban people from using cars, motor bikes and bicycles because they are used by drug dealers? Let’s be honest that is a really lame excuse.

  9. Paul Temple Reply

    In the push to use our cars less the e scooter could be the game changer for many. A fraction of the cost of an e bike, easy to store, built in breaks and lights and 95% are speed limited to 15mph. A real Green alternative which many other parts of the country are already on board with, (as well as a lot of the world). Bike take up in London has barely climbed above 5%, (and they have a decent public transport system), if they think a huge modal shift will happen in Brighton it simply will not. E Scooters should be part of the solution and legislation would stop them being a problem.

  10. Peter Challis Reply

    Most interesting is Lloyd’s comment about the anti-motorist obsession of our Green councillors and their concern that those without cars might switch to using eScooters instead of following their directives to walk, cycle, or use buses.

    As they ignore the results of their climate assembly that wanted park-and-ride introduced, they instead focus on the concept of “transport hubs” that don’t include car parking or EV charging.

    The result – more visitors and shoppers will go to other resorts and towns in the vicinity where their custom, and the revenue they bring supporting jobs and businesses is welcomed.

  11. Chris Reply

    Yup – my registered hard of hearing partner is nearly knocked down by e-scooters or cyclists seemingly trying to race against cars on the pavement outside our house. They are illegal for a reason. I have no problem with them having helmets, MOT, Insurance and using the road. After all they go just as fast as a moped.

    • Chris Reply

      Forgot to say @Sussex Police – do hang about East Brighton if you would like to find some more e-scooterrorists !

  12. Mike Reply

    bad enough cyclists on the pavement and footpaths without these selfish smart arse e-scooter morons whizzing around.

  13. Andrew Peters Reply

    An electric scooter rider has died after he crashed into a fence in Brighton.

    Police appeal after collision between E-Scooter and cyclist in Brighton

    A man heading in the opposite direction collided with her, causing both to fall to the ground. The E-Scooter rider got up and continued his journey without any concern for the cyclist.

  14. Tim Johnson Reply

    Interesting that the Green spokesperson says “E-scooters have potential to form a key part of local transport, but with no legal framework for their use”. Where is the legal framework for bicycles and their use? And yet they continue to regard their unregulated use as a key part of local transport!

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