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e-scooters – 12 months on

14 October 2021

Catastrophic injury specialist, Ian Slater, reviews e-scooters 12 months on from his initial update and provides commentary on the recently published Department for Transport e-scooter factsheet for 2020.

Over 12 months ago now, I wrote about e-scooters being an accident waiting to happen. On 30 September 2021, the Department for Transport published Reported road casualties Great Britain: e-scooter factsheet 2020.

The first thing to note is that the data which has just been published relates to 2020 only. I think I am on fairly safe ground when I say that e-scooter accidents are continuing to increase, and the data which will be published this time next year will show the numbers of incidents / injuries increasing exponentially.

Literally three days before these statistics were published, the BBC published a video interview concerning the sad death of Shakur Pinnock and life-changing injuries suffered by his girlfriend Chante Hoosang who were involved in a collision whilst riding an e-scooter together in June 2021. 

You can see the interview with their families here.

These are good kids with loving families, and I am struck by their innocence and lack of awareness of the dangers posed by these devices. They are not alone. At 19 and 20, they are squarely in the profile age group for the majority of e-scooter casualties.

What 19 / 20 year old (in their own mind at least) isn't invincible? I'm not talking about a nanny state, but this was foreseeable: pedestrians, car drivers, and e-scooter riders need to be protected (and yes, sometimes from themselves).

Baroness Ludford, a senior peer, has recently gone on record to say that she was nearly hit by an e-scooter travelling at around 20 mph and predicted that vulnerable, frail and disabled people will start to find pavements too dangerous for them. 

That theme is replicated in another BBC video article which you can find here, and whereas these devices were new and relatively rare when we started this debate, I am sure that almost everyone reading this article will have had close encounters of an e-scooter kind in the last 12 months. The spokesperson for the National Federation of the Blind talks about packs of young men riding around on e-scooters, and from personal experience, I can say that I've seen exactly the same thing on City Road in London: a gang of maybe 30 riders literally taking over the street at high speed.

The 2020 statistics show that over half of all e-scooter crashes happened in London where vehicle drivers need to be hyper-vigilant to a multitude of potential threats. 484 people were injured in accidents involving e-scooters. 374 of those were riders, with the rest being 'other people and road users' including 57 pedestrians.

In 2020, one casualty was killed, 128 suffered serious injuries (13 of which were to pedestrians) and 355 were slightly injured (44 of which were pedestrians).

I am absolutely sure that those numbers will increase exponentially for 2021. Reported casualties by month were hitting 80+ at the end of last year and I very much doubt that it will stop there.

The insurance industry has warned about this growing menace. These devices are dangerous, largely unregulated, and I am absolutely sure that more families will be ripped apart due to the lack of information, lack of control and lack of a safe environment.

If you require any further information, please contact Ian Slater or your usual Insurance team contact.

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