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Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership is urging parents to consider the potential long-term consequences of letting their teenager or child ride an escooter.
As well as it being illegal to ride a privately owned escooter in any public place in Warwickshire, it could affect your teenager’s ability to apply for a driving licence when they reach the legal age.
This is because escooters are classed as motor vehicles under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and this opens up their riders to a raft of offences as riders need to have a driving licence and insurance to ride them. This also means if they were to be made legal, the minimum age allowed to ride one is currently 16 years old.
There is a long list of offences that could be committed by escooter riders in Warwickshire. These include:
All of these can be considered by the police, but they will usually report or charge for the most serious offence.
But that’s not all. Escooter riders under 17 years old commit the same offences as adults and will be treated the same. This means that if a young rider is prosecuted for no insurance the 6 points will be held on a ‘ghost’ licence by the DVLA. When your teenager reaches the legal age to apply for their driving licence the points are added and they could be instantly disqualified from driving. The points are ‘spent’ after 3 years and they can then reapply for a licence. However, this could have an impact on their insurance for years to come.
If they are involved in a collision whilst illegally riding an escooter they must comply with the Road Traffic Act 1988 which defines an escooter as a motor vehicle. This means they must stop and exchange details if property has been damaged and report it to the Police if someone has been injured. Failure to do so could result in your teenager being arrested. Failing to stop at the scene and failing to report are separate offences to those already being committed by riding the escooter and may see riders receive a much harsher sentence.
There are also consequences for the parents.
As it's not currently possible to get insurance for privately owned escooters, it's illegal to use them on the road or in public spaces. This means if an escooter is involved in a collision the rider could face a large compensation and legal bill in addition to any criminal proceedings. If the rider is a juvenile then these costs could be passed on to parents or guardians to pay.
Warwickshire Police Inspector Jem Mountford said “As well as being illegal, there are real concerns for the safety of escooter riders and other road users including people with sight loss, the young, old and disabled.
“Because they are illegal we believe the number of collisions and injuries involving escooters could be under reported in Warwickshire. Nationally, provisional data from 2022 shows there were 1349 collisions involving escooters resulting in 1437 casualties and 12 fatalities. This is a real concern and could be just the tip of the iceberg. These fatalities included a 12 year old boy riding one on his way to school and a 71 year old lady who was hit whilst walking on the pavement.”
Recently, we have seen the results of the latter case in Nottingham where a 14 year old boy was in collision with a 71 year old woman pedestrian on a footpath which resulted in her death. The rider was found guilty of causing death by riding whilst uninsured and other than in accordance with a driving licence. He was sentenced to a 12 month referral order and given a 5 year driving ban. His parents were given a 6 month parenting order and ordered to pay his Court Costs and Victim Surcharge as they had bought the escooter for him and allowed him to ride it.
We are urging parents to consider other options such as a new bicycle, as a legal alternative.
For more information Advice on e-scooter usage | Warwickshire Police
Reported road casualties Great Britain: e-Scooter factsheet year ending June 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)