Scooters And One Wheels

Requires a change within the legislation after the e-scooter was seized by police in Leicester metropolis middle

On Saturday morning, a man driving an e-scooter through downtown Leicester was stopped by police.

They confiscated the privately owned electric vehicle because the law says they cannot be driven in public unless they are rented through an approved and insured system.

And when they shot a warning to passengers, they said, “Remember, these vehicles are not allowed to be used in any public place unless they are part of an approved rental program (there aren’t any in Leicester).

“If seen, probably confiscated.”

The news generated hundreds of comments on the LeicestershireLive website and on Facebook. Many have been upset that police are cracking down on people using vehicles that are legally available and can often be seen in the city and county.

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The law states that they can be bought but only used on private land with the landowner’s permission.

A parent who commented on the story on Facebook said: “Brought my 14 year old for Christmas and it was over £ 300.

“He’s too scared to take it out now in our cul-de-sac, for fear that the police will take it away from him! That’s ridiculous.”

This was corroborated by many other comments backing people’s right to use the tiny machines that normally have the power to go around 15 miles an hour.

Across the country, thousands of people have signed various online petitions calling on the UK government to change the law to make the e-scooters legal.

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A separate petition was organized by Halfords selling the scooters.

Its website states: “We believe that using them safely can revolutionize the way we travel and help address pollution and congestion issues.

“Our petition calls for the government to legalize the use of all electric scooters on public roads and for UK laws to catch up with the rest of the world.”

In September last year, Northampton launched a 12-month testing program that made 300 scooters available across the city for people to use as alternatives to cars.

Everyone who uses them must be at least 18 years old and have a driver’s license. The scooters may only be used on the road.

A month later, in October 2020, a similar program was set up in Nottingham, with 200 scooters available for people to rent and use legally on the road.

However, there are no such systems in Leicestershire. So if you see one in public it is likely being ridden illegally.

Councilor Adam Clark, Deputy Mayor of Leicester City Council for Transport, said he foresaw a future where such vehicles would be legal on the city’s streets.

However, Leicester has just set up a rented electric bike program with 500 bikes and 50 docking stations across the city and so has not applied to collaborate with Nottingham and Northampton to test electric scooter programs.

He said, “It is viewed as something that will continue to spread and the government needs to promote adequate regulation for the benefit of these vehicles.

Designated scooter parking at Wheeler Gate in Nottingham

“I have definitely noticed an increase in the use of e-scooters and people are concerned, but it is up to the police to take care of it now – from the point of view of the council it is difficult to do anything.”

When asked how things might change for e-scooter use in the future, he said, “They definitely play a role when it comes to decarbonising transportation.

“You have a role to play, but it must be brought forward in a regulated manner.

“We are advancing our e-bike program and we believe this is appropriate for the city. We can do this without considering changes to the law as e-bikes are properly regulated.”

Rob Martin, a spokesman for Critical Mass Cycling Group in Leicester, said that while the e-scooters had benefits in terms of pollution and congestion, they certainly didn’t belong on the sidewalks where they are currently used by many Leicester riders.

He said, “They shouldn’t be on the sidewalk like cyclists shouldn’t be. I think they scare pedestrians when they unexpectedly come up behind them.

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“However, there are also problems with having the e-scooters on the streets.

“On the plus side, the people who drive them aren’t sitting in cars, they’re not causing the same pollution and congestion, so there are benefits there.”

David Perrins, who lives in Ellistown, near Coalville, volunteered with the brake traffic safety organization for many years and advocates that the police confiscate scooters until they can be regulated and made safer.

He said, “I think they’re a death trap – fatal accidents waiting to happen.

“Lots of people ride them without a helmet and if you are going at 15 mph, if you fall off and your head hits the concrete, you’re going to be in trouble.

“Here in Ellistown we have narrow sidewalks and I get overwhelmed by cyclists and these e-scooters go just as fast, if not faster.

“They sound like fun and I’m sure some people are trying to be safe and responsible, but the privately owned ones aren’t legal on the streets and sidewalks, and I think it’s right for the police to seize them.”

A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: “In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland it is illegal to use an electric scooter on a public highway.

“The government is currently experimenting with electric scooters, but this experiment is not taking place in the Leicestershire area.

“If you use an e-scooter illegally, you could face a fine, get penalty points on your driving license and the e-scooter could be confiscated.

“We encourage users to review government guidelines for their use.”

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