Police ‘going soft on e-scooters menace’
BRITAIN’S biggest police force will no longer routinely seize e-scooters being ridden illegally on public roads.
The Met will instead confiscate them only from repeat offenders or when ‘necessary to keep the public safe’ – a move that was last night slammed by MPs and campaigners who branded the vehicles ‘death traps’.
The force has seized 3,637 privately-owned e-scooters this year, but anyone stopped while riding one illegally will now have the law explained to them rather than see their scooter immediately seized. A Met spokesman said: ‘If an officer sees a rider on an escooter they will explain the guidance and, if necessary to keep the public safe or the rider is a repeat offender, will enforce traffic legislation and seize e-scooters that are being used illegally.’
Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough, said the new approach to enforcement ‘beggars belief’. He added: ‘They should be hardening their stance on e-scooters, not softening it. They are a menace and a danger. If someone is riding them illegally they should be confiscated.’
Sarah Gayton, street access campaign coordinator at the National Federation of the Blind, said there was no excuse for riders not to understand the ‘very explicit’ law prohibiting the use of privately-owned e-scooters on public roads. ‘The police should just take them from people who are riding them illegally – then people would stop riding them illegally. The accident rate among young people is horrendous.’ At least six people have died in accidents involving e-scooters since July 2020, with almost 200 riders seriously injured.
Scotland Yard yesterday accused retailers of selling the vehicles without making customers aware of the rules. Commander Kyle Gordon, head of roads policing, said: ‘It is really unhelpful that retailers, fully aware of the risks they are creating, continue to profit from selling machines illegal for use on public roads without sufficient guidance. I am calling on retailers not to exploit their customers in the run-up to Christmas.’