E-scooter campaign targets rise in illegal driving

01:32 PM September 5, 2022

An advertising blitz and education campaign aimed at teenagers has been launched to highlight the risks of riding electric scooters illegally, following an increase in complaints.

Widely sold and increasingly popular, particularly among young people, electric scooters have become commonplace in Norfolk.

Three teenagers seen on an electric scooter on Hall Road in Norwich
– Credit: Submitted

But the only electric scooters that can be driven on the road are those rented on government-approved trials that have safety features like 15.5mph speed limits and automatic lights.

In Norfolk, there are currently two pilot rental schemes: Ginger in Great Yarmouth and Beryl in Norwich, recently extended to Wymondham.

The issue of the increasing number of children seen on illegally used scooters was raised by Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie at his latest accountability meeting, following concerns raised by residents of King’s Lynn.

Norfolk Police Chief Paul Sanford

Norfolk Police Chief Paul Sanford
– Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

Chief Constable Paul Sanford said: ‘There is public confusion about what you can and cannot do with the use of scooters, particularly in Norwich.

“Trials are underway where people can rent scooters that can be driven legally on the roads while private scooters cannot.”

The meeting heard that the common practice was for officers to stop offenders to check if they have already been arrested.

If the warnings were ignored, the execution will proceed.

Riders could receive a fixed penalty notice for no insurance, with a £300 fine and six penalty points; a fixed penalty notice for not having a driving licence, and up to £100 fine and three-six penalty points.

Other violations that can result in penalties include driving on the sidewalk, using a cell phone, going through red lights and drink-driving.

Last month a teenager was charged with drunk driving in connection with an accident involving an electric scooter in Norwich.

Meanwhile, in June, a 16-year-old girl driving an electric scooter received six points on her future driving license and was fined £300 for ‘operating a motor vehicle on a road or a public place without liability insurance”.

Mr Sanford said a police and council publicity campaign to raise awareness had been launched to educate people on the use of scooters.

Norfolk County Council Police and Trading Standards have also been involved in launching an education program for 15 to 19 year olds.

    Beryl electric scooters in Norwich.

The number of electric scooters in Norwich will double from 250 to 500 – and they will also be available in Wymondham, Hethersett and Drayton.

Earlier this year, the government proposed approving more electric scooter models for use on public roads.

However, the regulations could set speed limits and requirements for headlights and helmets as part of the creation of a new category for small zero-emission vehicles.

So what are the rules on electric scooters?

  • Private electric scooters can only be used on private land. You can’t get insurance to ride them in public areas. This means they cannot be ridden on roads, sidewalks or any public area.
  • In Norfolk, only authorized ‘Beryl’ or ‘Ginger’ scooters are part of the ongoing trials and can legally be used in public.
  • If you are caught riding an e-scooter in a public place, you could have your e-scooter seized. The charge for retrieving an e-scooter is £150 plus £10 storage charge per day. You could also face up to six penalty points on your license and a £300 fine.
  • The police have the power to arrest users for reckless or dangerous driving, as well as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. You risk prosecution, a fine and/or penalty points on your licence.

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