E-scooters could become legal on Britain's roads suggests Grant Shapps as he pledges to crack down on those being ridden 'dangerously'
Private e-scooters could be made legal for use on Britain's roads, it has emerged, as transport secretary Grant Shapps pledges to crack down on those 'causing problems'.
While it is legal to both sell and buy electric scooters they are currently only allowed to be used on private land by law.
But with no specific legislation to recognise them as a legal mode of transport, and with no signs that e-scooters are fading in popularity, the government minister has admitted that further and more stringent regulations are now needed to hold riders and retailers accountable, which could involve making their wider use legal in order to clamp down on irresponsible riders.
Appearing before the House of Commons transport committee, which quizzed him about their use, Grant Shapps suggested legislation could be laid out in next month's Queen's Speech that would pave the way for them to be used legally on the road with tougher rules relating to how exactly they can be ridden.
That way, the transport secretary explained, those which do not carry the correct insurance, lights, or are riding e-scooters that have been modified in order to be ridden at higher speeds or with more power could then be dealt with.
Potential plans to hold retailers responsible for the types of models they sell, while it could become a criminal offence to tamper or sell an e-scooter that doesn't meet the specifications ministers intend to set down, were also muted.
Grant Shapps said: "In the future I want to crack down on the illegal use on roads of non-compliant e-scooters."
There have been more than 30 trials of e-scooters across UK towns and cities. Mr Shapps says the experiments running nationwide had been 'broadly' successful because they have been well run trials where the use of e-scooters is carefully controlled, as well as being able to make sure riders had essential items like safety helmets, lights and indicators.
Pointing to cities around the world where residents have adopted e-scooters as a common and popular way of moving around Mr Shapps suggested the scooters were most likely here to stay and therefore needed to now be 'made safe' and that it was not possible to 'uninvent technology'.
He insisted that standards set down in law, which he promised the government would consult over, would make it easier to control their use in the UK.
He explained: "I believe we need to crack down on the poor standards and the inability to control them, sometimes when they end up being used in the wrong way or dangerously, and enable use where it's appropriate and responsible,' he added.
"The first thing is to have some legislation that describes the things."
Speaking during the meeting Conservative committee member Simon Jupp said there had been more than 900 collisions involving e-scooters, 11 of which were fatal.
But Mr Shapps pointed out that no deaths had occurred within the official trials, which pointed to the need to now have the use of e-scooters properly regulated in order to bring the private market 'up to the standard' of the rental market.
He said: "We will take powers to properly regulate and then be able to decide the usage of them.
"They're a reality, they exist" he added.
" And if these things exist they need to be made safe, and I think the trials have been useful in gathering data and there's more data still to gather."