E-scooter casualties on the rise

Posted On 27 May 2022 at 3:37 pm

The number of injuries from e-scooters is on the rise, according to new figures, including one death in Brighton just under a year ago.

E-scooters have become popular and, some say, they have the potential to reduce pollution and provide a quick, cheap and easy alternative mode of transport.

But privately owned e-scooters remain illegal on public roads and pavements – and critics say that they are dangerous for riders and other road users.

Provisional figures from the Department for Transport included 39 casualties from e-scooter accidents recorded by Sussex Police last year, up from 17 in 2020.

E-scooters were involved in a relatively small proportion of all traffic accidents and accounted for less than 1 per cent of all road casualties in Sussex last year.

The force has issued reminders and warnings and even seized a number of e-scooters having come under pressure to enforce the law as it stands.

But earlier this month the government said that it was considering legalising the use of private scooters on roads in its proposed Transport Bill.

Trials of rental scooters are already under way in 30 areas across the country although not in Brighton and Hove.

Those using an e-scooter were far more likely to be hurt in a collision than other road users, accounting for 76 per cent of all e-scooter casualties across Great Britain.

Pedestrians made up 16 per cent of casualties and cyclists 5 per cent while car users only suffered 17 slight injuries from e-scooter accidents in 2021.

Lorna Stevenson, who researches e-scooters at Westminster University, said that they could still help the UK meet its carbon targets.

“Transport emits more carbon than any other sector in the UK. E-scooters don’t contribute to air or noise pollution – the biggest potential benefits from them come if people use them instead of driving for short, solo trips.

As for why casualties might have risen, she cited several possible reasons, including a rise in the number of people using e-scooters.

Stock image of an electric scooter by Dirk Vorderstraße on Flickr

She said: “Research suggests new riders are more accident-prone. Better records likely play a substantial part, with many police forces increasing their efforts to record e-scooter collisions.

“Retailers have reported strong sales of e-scooters recently – as traffic levels have risen after lockdown and people return to the office.

“Riders might be more likely to share the road with other vehicles and be travelling at peak times on peak routes,” Ms Stevenson added.

Across Great Britain, the number of casualties from e-scooter collisions stood at 1,359 for 2021, nearly triple the 484 recorded the year before.

And in 2021 there were nine fatalities, up from just one the year before. One of those who died last year was Bernard Jackson, 54, of Millers Road, Brighton.

Stock image of police stopping an e-scooter rider in Church Road, Hove, in November 2021.

Mr Jackson, a member of the support staff at Brighton University, died last June about three weeks after he crashed into metal railings near Falmer railway station.

He suffered a pulmonary embolism – a blocked blood vessel in his lungs – and the coroner Penelope Schofield recorded a verdict of accidental death resulting from the e-scooter accident.

The DfT said that minor casualties may go unreported, so the true number of injuries may be higher, adding: “We have set out clear regulations and guidance for users and rental providers on wearing helmets, speed limits and precautions to keep everyone safe.

“While riding a privately owned e-scooter on public land is currently illegal, we are considering how best to design future regulations.

“Our Transport Bill will enable us to take the steps we need to support innovation, robustly crack down on irresponsible use and make e-scooters safer.”

  1. jjgoldsmith Reply

    Saw this on another social media site and interestingly someone also posted that e scooters are 5 times safer than riding a bike according to a recent ROSPA report. https://road.cc/content/news/rospa-e-scooters-five-times-safer-riders-bicycles-292339

    To me they seem a sensible way forward once properly regulated.

    • mart Burt Reply

      The survey was actually carried out by an independent source and dates from 2020.
      From department of Transport stats:
      Killed Seriously injured injured Total
      2020 E-Scooter Users 1 105 278 384
      2021 E-scooter user 3 199 530 732

      Results for 21-22 won’t be published until September but research already has shown at least 12 deaths to February 2022. https://impersonalinjury.passle.net/post/102hftj/e-scooters-in-2022.

      I think with the evidence we have already the 5 times safer comment is now outdated.

    • Hove Guy Reply

      Today I spotted four idiots riding on e-scooters, at fast speed, on pavements around Brighton. Bad enough that we have to put up with arrogant cyclists doing this, but, as pedestrians do we really now look forward to having to dodge these morons as well?
      Incidentally three of them passed a stationary police car and, needless to say, its occupants paid no attention at all. Not much chance of their being regulated it seems. Expect to read about a lot more accidents from e-scooters.

  2. peter croft Reply

    RoSPA’s “e-scooter 5 times safer than bicycles” report of April 2022 is widely ridiculed as it uses outdated (by 18 months), incomplete and discredited DfT data from 2020, at at time when there had been only 2 deaths. Since then, there were 11 rider deaths in 2021 alone which RoSPA’s report choses not to mention. The total is now 17 deaths, of which at least 11 involved no other vehicle – the riders simply lost control and hit fixed objects eg parked cars (typical), a tree, metal railings, a lamp post. Read PACTS report for a more accurate and up to date assessment. https://www.pacts.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/PACTS-The-safety-of-private-e-scooters-in-the-UK-Final-Report.pdf

  3. Peter Bongo Reply

    When Brighton police say have cracked down on E scooters and we all see them EVERYWHERE, blatantly unafraid of being stopped by police , it sends an overall message that laws don’t matter , won’t be enforced and the police are a joke … which leads to much more serious crime .. it’s the same principle as “ zero tolerance “ policing but in reverse. What’s more E Scooters are now the preferred mode of transport for dial-a-gram drug deliveries .. and still the police don’t stop them.

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