Electric scooter riders should take a driving test before using them on roads says lawyer

Electric scooter riders should take a driving test before using them on roads says lawyer

09/05/2020

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Electric scooter trials are taking place in cities across the UK as local councils look to alternative transport methods amid the coronavirus pandemic. The new trials mean anyone with a provisional licence and aged above 18 can hire a scooter for a small charge.

The devices can travel up to 15.5mph with riders allowed to use them on the side of public roads up to a speed limit of 30mph.

However, Nick Freeman has attacked the proposals as he argued that a provisional licence was not a “barometer for proficiency”.

He warns riders who may not have used the scooters before could be “incredibly vulnerable” in using roads where cards and lorries are just metres away.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “A lot of the people who are riding them would not have ridden them before, it’s not like riding a bike there’s a huge balance problem.

“You’re incredibly vulnerable, obviously their safety is paramount and there’s no proficiency test.

“There’s nothing they need to do before they just say here’s an e-scooter and I’m going on the road and it’s a road that’s used by people who drive motor vehicles and lorries etc..

“They needed to pass a test, a proficiency test to go on the road and what we have is a situation where an e-scooter which has an electric motor where you have no standard of ability [can use it].

“We don’t know whether [the riders] know the Highway Code. You’ve got to hold a provisional licence which means you haven’t passed a test.

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“The only qualification you have is that you’re holding a provisional licence which is no barometer of proficiency.”

Under the trials, riders will only be allowed to use scooters which have been approved for use by local authorities.

These machines will be capped at 15.5mph compared to speeds of up to 28mph which is capable on some private models.

It is illegal to use a private scooter on a public road and police officers have already reported of some offenders being mistaken by the new rules.

The scooters are seen by many as a dangerous tool after a number of fatal accidents in other countries.

Most scooters also have just one single brake which can make it harder for riders to control them safely.

The motoring lawyer says that it was vital riders understood the Highway Code and had done a “basic test” before being allowed on the roads.

He described the new devices as “incredibly dangerous” and has previously warned that there could be serious accidents on UK roads.

He told Express.co.uk: “Before people are let loose on these we need to know that they actually know the Highway Code and they’ve certainly done a basic test to know they are familiar with them.

“We don’t let learner drivers on the motorway, all the years up until very recently, you won’t let a learner driver on the motorway, why, because its a specific skill set that’s required.

“So why should we let somebody who has no level of proficiency, who’s completely unfamiliar with the Highway Code, go on a road which is shared with other road users and they have no previous experience.

“And they are not supervised of course. From a practical perspective, it’s impossible so I think it’s potentially incredibly dangerous.”

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