Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership asks public not to buy escooters as presents this Christmas
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Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership (WRSP) is asking the public not to buy escooters this Christmas and to consider buying their loved ones something else instead.
This is because it is currently illegal to ride a privately owned escooter in any public place in Warwickshire and there are serious implications for young people, who break the law by using one, as well as their parents. The current penalty for riding an escooter on the road or in any public place is 3 points on a driving licence and £100 fine. If the rider is too young to hold a licence at the time of the offence, then the points can be added to their licence later when they apply for one.
An escooter is not a toy, it is defined as a motor vehicle so like the driver of a car, you need a licence, insurance, tax and MOT. This means if anyone under 16 is caught riding an escooter on a road or in a public space, it could affect them when applying for a driving licence and even worse if they are involved in a collision, the parent could also be prosecuted for allowing them to ride it.
Warwickshire Police Inspector Jem Mountford said “Not only are escooters illegal, we are extremely concerned for the safety of those using them. In Warwickshire, we have received reports of more than one rider on an escooter at a time and reports of parents with very young children on the escooter with them, being taken to school, which is extremely dangerous.
“Nationally in 2022 there were 1369 collisions involving escooters resulting in 1458 casualties and 12 fatalities. We have seen an increase in both collisions and injuries in Warwickshire but this could be just the tip of the iceberg as we know collisions are being under reported.”
Although there are calls for escooters to become a legal and alternative form of transport, all indications are that they will still be illegal for under 16’s, which makes it a bad choice for a Christmas present.
The only escooters that can be legally ridden in the UK are those being used as part of a trial. The nearest trials to Warwickshire are in Northamptonshire and Birmingham. The trials across the country require riders to be 16 or over and to produce their driving licence before they can hire an escooter. Insurance is provided by the operator.
Whilst WRSP has widely distributed leaflets and social media graphics, highlighting the illegality of using a privately owned escooter in a public space, and advising of the consequences, including receiving a fine, points on licences and having the escooter impounded, there is still more work to be done in raising awareness especially amongst young people who are more likely to use them as a cheap form of transport.
To address this, Warwickshire County Council Road Safety Education Team has been engaging with primary and secondary schools across Warwickshire, seeking support with raising awareness among their school and wider communities of the current law on escooters.
As part of this planned engagement, Headteachers of Warwickshire Primary Schools have been invited to complete a short survey focusing on escooter use to help identify emerging concerns regarding the illegal use of escooters among young people. Information received will be analysed to help inform future campaigns and initiatives.
Operations are also planned by local SNTs in some areas to help educate young people.
For more road safety information and advice, please follow Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership on Facebook @WarwickshireRoadSafety and Twitter @WarksRoadSafety