Newport MP urges more guidance on use of e-scooters on public roads
UK Ministers have been told to do more to raise awareness of where e-scooters can legally be used before more people are given them as Christmas presents.
Labour MP Jessica Morden told the Commons how areas of her Newport East constituency had been plagued by e-scooter riders mounting pavements and speeding while wearing dark, non-reflective clothing.
The law says e-scooters can only be used on public roads if rented as part of a Government-backed trial, while privately-owned vehicles can only be used on private land.
Ms Morden said police were trying to raise awareness of the rules around riding e-scooters, but called on the Government to help with a national campaign.
The Labour MP told the Commons: “My thanks to the councillors, to the residents, and even a scout group who have discussed this with me, with groups of e-scooter and e-bike riders careering between pavements and the road, breaking speed limits which I have witnessed myself, running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic and causing other vehicles and pedestrians to take avoiding action.”
She quoted the words of one constituent, adding that anti-social users of e-scooters were “usually clothed in black without any reflective items and have total disregard for the highway code and pedestrians”.
Ms Morden told the Commons: “Gwent Police and other forces have taken a lead, with social media campaigns particularly around Christmas, making the public aware of rules for e-scooters before they are purchased as Christmas presents, but there seems to be little national steer from either the Home Office or the Department for Transport on educating the general population.
“I also want to ask what the Government are doing to ensure that our police forces have all the resources they need to tackle antisocial e-scooter use.”
Transport minister Jesse Norman said the Government has extended e-scooter trials in England until May 2024 “in order to ensure that it can continue to gather evidence on what works and what doesn’t”.
He added: “That is the reason for having this wide range of trials, there’s wide range of scope for regulatory and other innovation and the evidence and learning for these trials will be published shortly.”
However, Mr Norman said he is “mindful that technology and incentives in trials alone cannot tackle anti-social use”, adding: “There will always be some anti-social use of any mode of transport.
“We know that it comes with the turf, as the honourable member for Newport East will know, Wales chose not to participate in the trials and so by default, as she says, any scooters being driven on public roads in her constituency are illegal.”
He said his department is in regular contact with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Home Office in order to “ensure that there is a consistent approach to tackling this issue and we are continuing to support the police to ensure they have the tools they need”.
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