Outside of a handful of trials being run across the UK, e-scooters remain illegal to use on public roads and highways – enforcement being a matter for an already stretched police force.
In last year’s Queen’s Speech, the Government announced that a new Transport Bill would provide a legal category for e-scooters and enable them to become regulated road-legal vehicles.
This would be accompanied by a public consultation covering the detailed regulations for road legal vehicles, including any insurance requirements.
However, 12 months later, there is no sign of the Transport Bill, leaving insurers and members of the public alike in legal limbo.
It is within this context that, this week, the House of Commons Transport Committee grilled the minister responsible for e-scooter regulations – Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP, Minister of State for Decarbonisation and Technology at the Department for Transport (DfT).
In a one-off evidence session, Members of the Committee questioned Mr Norman on the expected timeline for the forthcoming Transport Bill, which is to provide primary legislation on e-scooters.
Key updates from the Minister include:
The Committee was further assured by Anthony Ferguson, DfT’s Deputy Director for Traffic and Technology, that insurance was one of the key issues that the Government is looking into in terms of regulation proposals for e-scooters.
Keoghs welcomes the pressure applied on the Government by the Transport Committee, as Government updates on e-scooters have been few and far between.
Nevertheless, the outcome was disappointing. We remain none the wiser as to what form e-scooter regulations might take and we have no clear timeline for when the Government will take action.
In the meantime – insurers and the public alike continue to muddle through as the popularity of e-scooters continues to rise, along with the number of accidents.
We urge the Government to set out a clear timeline for the introduction of legislation and for the consultation to give the industry and the public reassurance that e-scooters, as a policy issue, are being dealt with. We would like to see re-commitment from the Government to introduce the Transport Bill to Parliament during the current parliamentary session, and see no reason why a consultation on potential regulations cannot be commenced now; indeed it may be beneficial to have such a consultation concluded prior to the Transport Bill achieving Royal Assent, so that policymakers can be ready to implement the necessary regulations immediately.
In the meantime, at Keoghs we continue with our engagement programme with parliamentarians and other interested parties on the topic of e-scooters to continue to highlight the need for action.
Head of Market Affairs
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