Police in Dacorum are cracking down on the illegal use of privately-owned electric or ‘e-scooters’ after a rise in reports across the borough.
On Wednesday 5 August, officers from the Hemel Hempstead Central Safer Neighbourhood Team conducted a targeted operation in the town centre.
They patrolled the Marlowes and the surrounding area, and spent time speaking to and educating members of the public on the law around e-scooters.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that a person must not use a motor vehicle on a road or other public place unless a valid policy of insurance is in place.
Electric scooters are motor vehicles, but are not legal for road use and therefore cannot be insured. They can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission.
During the town centre operation, officers stopped and seized two e-scooters on Waterhouse Street after their riders were seen to be using them in a public place.
Two further e-scooters failed to stop on request of police and local officers will be visiting them shortly to address all the offences, including failing to stop for police.
Inspector Jeff Scott, who leads Dacorum’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: ‘Recently, there have been increased reports of e-scooters being ridden illegally in Dacorum and I want to reiterate how dangerous these vehicles can be.
‘Sadly, there has been national media coverage of a fatality involving one of these machines so we are asking the public to consider the dangers before purchasing them, either for themselves or their children. If parents cause or permit their children to ride them in public, they can also fall foul of the law which in turn could affect their own driving licence.
‘If you are caught riding an e-scooter on a public highway, pavement or cycle lane it will be seized by police. You will be reported for driving offences that could lead to significant penalty points and a fine, which will be sufficient to potentially ban an individual from driving other vehicles – whether you currently hold a current driving licence or not.
‘Additional motoring offences such as driving on the pavement or failing to stop for a police officer in uniform could lead to further penalties.
‘I want to reassure the public that if we see an e-scooter being ridden in a public place, we will seize it and report the rider for appropriate offences.
‘The local teams are engaging with the retailers that sell these machines, and they have advised us that they inform any purchasers that they cannot be used on a public road.
‘I strongly advise the community not to ride these machines in a public place and comply with the law for their own safety and the safety of others. We do not want an innocent person being seriously injured or worse.’
The Government recently announced plans to introduce e-scooter rental trials in some parts of the UK, in order to ease the burden on public transport and allow for easier social distancing.
However, it is important to note that the proposed change in legislation will apply only to e-scooters legally used as part of trials, for the duration of the trials. E-scooters not used as part of the trials will remain illegal on the road, in cycle lanes and tracks, and on pavements.
The full Government legislation on e-scooters can be found here.