The starting point with claims involving e-scooters is to determine whether the e-scooter is privately owned, or rented; but before turning to this question, let us consider the current law related to the use of e-scooters

“Rental electric scooters (e-scooters) are the only way to legally ride an e-scooter on public roads or in other public places within London – and even this is limited to specific boroughs. It is still illegal to use privately-owned e-scooters or other powered transporters on public roads.” (TfL)

e-scooters are now available for hire in:

  • Ealing
  • Camden
  • City of London
  • Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Lambeth (north of the borough only)
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Southwark
  • Tower Hamlets (limited parking at Canary Wharf and some TfL stations)
  • Westminster
[Note from Monday 13 December 2021  it is not permitted to carry e-scooters or e-unicycles on TfL services or in stations or other premises forming part of the public transport network, even when folded. Up to £1000 fine may be imposed for non-compliance. [This safety step comes after defective lithium-ion batteries in privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles caused fires on TfL]].

In order to hire an e-scooter a rider must be over the age of 18 years old and hold at least a provisional driving licence. All first time riders are also required to undertake mandatory training on how to ride safely in London.  The speed limit of hired e-scooters is capped at 12.5mph – they automatically reduce speed to 8mph in ‘go slow’ areas. The e-scooters also come to a safe stop in ‘no-go’ zones to ensure they can be ridden safely

Importantly, from a claims viewpoint, riders of hired e-scooters have the benefit of insurance; e-scooters are mechanically propelled vehicles intended or adapted for use on roads as defined by the Road Traffic Act 1988 and are, therefore, classed as a motor vehicles, subject to compulsory insurance

As mentioned, privately-owned e-scooters or other powered transporters are not legal to use on public roads. 

Typical criminal offences include:

  • Driving a motor vehicle with no insurance – you could be liable for a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on your driving licence
  • Driving vehicles on pavements is generally an offence – this applies at all times to all types of e-scooters and powered transporters
  • Riders must be 18 or over and have a full or provisional driving licence to rent an e-scooter

Turning now to the question of personal injury claims

A person injured by someone riding an e-scooter, has a claim against the rider.  If the e-scooter concerned is a hired e-scooter then, in bringing a claim the injured party can rely on the benefit of the insurance provided by the hire company.  However, if it is a privately owned e-scooter without insurance, the injured person, (whilst having a claim against the rider) may not have anyone worth pursing to recover their losses

Privately-owned e-scooter riders should be aware that they may end up facing judgment for personal injury damages and a large legal bill

If you have been injured, or involved in an accident with a e-scooter, please contact our Personal Injury Team