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Police warn e-scooter retailers not to ‘exploit’ customers

Yui Mok/PA Wire

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Police have accused retailers of selling private e-scooters without making customers fully aware they cannot legally be used on public land.

The Metropolitan Police said many riders are being fined and having their vehicles seized after not being given “sufficient explanation and guidance” when they made the purchase.

It has partnered with Transport for London in writing to retailers urging them not to “exploit” their customers as thousands of e-scooters are expected to be sold in the run-up to Christmas.

Private e-scooters can only legally be used on private land in the UK but are a common sight on roads and pavements in urban areas.

Some 3,637 have been seized by the Metropolitan Police this year.

The force conducted an operation on London’s Blackfriars Bridge on Wednesday morning to stop e-scooter users.

The Met’s head of roads policing, Commander Kyle Gordon, said: “We know that some people may be unfamiliar with the rules around e-scooters and this is something we are working hard with partners to address.

“It is really unhelpful that retailers, fully aware of the risks they are creating for the public, continue to profit from selling machines illegal for use on public roads without sufficient explanation and guidance.

“This is leaving many with expensive seizures, fines and points on their licence.

“I am calling on retailers not to exploit their customers in the run-up to Christmas simply to make a profit.”

Mr Gordon added that private e-scooters have “proven to be highly dangerous” and the force has dealt with crashes where riders have “ended up seriously hurting themselves or others”.

Recent Department for Transport figures show 131 pedestrians and 36 cyclists were injured in e-scooter crashes in Britain in the year ending June.

Three e-scooter users died and a further 729 were injured over the same period.

Dozens of legalised e-scooter rental schemes have been launched in towns and cities across Britain since July 2020 as part of Government trials, including in London in June 2021.

These involve several safety measures, such as maximum speed limits and automatic lights.

London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman said there is a “woeful lack of regulation” for private e-scooters.

He continued: “We know that many people are trying to follow the rules and so it’s important that those using private e-scooters on public land are first engaged with, to make sure they understand what is and is not allowed on the streets and how they can avoid putting anyone else in danger.

“However, private e-scooters can be extremely dangerous, and anyone deliberately misusing them will feel the full force of enforcement action.”

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