New research has found that NHS Ambulance Trusts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland were called to assist 82 percent more e-scooter related accidents during 2021 than throughout 2020. A mass Freedom of Information request to all NHS Ambulance Trusts showed that 713 e-scooter related accidents were attended by NHS vehicles during 2021.
In comparison, there were 392 e-scooter related incidents in the previous year.
The data also reveals that the number of e-scooter accident patients being referred to A&E has increased by 40 percent between 2020 and 2021.
The Major Trauma Group and Possible are calling for the Government to take note of current holes in the regulation of e-scooters and take action to educate riders and impose equal safety standards on all e-scooter users.
The Government recently extended all approved e-scooter trials until November 30, 2022, to support a “green” restart of local travel and help mitigate reduced public transport capacity.
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Based on the data, all Ambulance Trusts that responded to the freedom of information request saw an increase in the number of e-scooter accidents attended, raising further questions about public safety.
With hundreds of thousands of unregulated vehicles already in use, experts are warning that the rollout of both public and privately owned e-scooters should not be expedited without effective safety regulations and public education.
Trevor Sterling, Chair of the Major Trauma Group, said: “E-scooters are set to continue increasing in popularity this year and it is essential that we address the serious safety concerns arising from e-scooter trials for the safety of all road users.
“We must therefore bridge the gap in knowledge of the legal status of privately owned e-scooters and push for all types of e-scooters to be legal, with stricter safety standards implemented.
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“While e-scooter owners are likely to be aware that it is illegal to ride a privately owned scooter thanks to advice from vendors, there are very few e-scooter users aware of the full criteria for legal use.
“Factors such as having a driving licence and age also play into the legality of e-scooter use and more must be done to raise awareness of this, together with awareness of possible sanctions.
“E-transport technology is very exciting and will support the UK in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
“A change in the law would hold e-scooters to a high standard of safety and help to lower greenhouse gas emissions from transport, as well as cutting congestion and repurposing streets away from cars.
Regionally, Northern Ireland and the North West saw the largest increase in the number of e-scooter accidents assisted by NHS ambulances, with a 700 percent and 200 percent increase respectively between 2020 and 2021.
With each ambulance call out costing the NHS £252, this increase in e-scooter accidents attended by the emergency services has seen an increase from £98,784 spent on ambulances being called to the scene to £179,676 in just one year.
Hirra Khan Adeogun, Head of Car Free Cities at climate charity Possible, commented: “If these statistics reveal anything it is how we rapidly need to legalise e-scooters to implement vehicle standards and provide rider education.
“Only then can e-scooters become a functional tool for urban mobility and decarbonising transport in our cities – they slash carbon emissions, are more energy and fuel efficient, and can expand access to public transport.
“Legalising them will ensure that they are both safe and welcomed by communities across the country.”