Call for clampdown on electric scooters in Sussex

A councillor has asked for more to be done to crackdown on the illegal use of electric scooters.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 11:51 am
Some trials of electric scooters are being held elsewhere in the country but not in Sussex. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

During a Sussex Police & Crime Panel meeting, Dr James Walsh (Lib Dem, Littlehampton East) said the scooters were ‘a real risk to life and limb’.

Speaking to Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, Dr Walsh added: “I’ve nearly been knocked down several times – I’ve seen other people knocked down.

“I don’t think we’ve had a fatality in Sussex but there have certainly been injuries and I just want to know what if any policies we have in that area.”

While it is not illegal to buy or sell an e-scooter, the only ones that can be used on public roads are those rented as part of government-backed trials.

If you own an e-scooter, you can only use it on private land and not on public roads, cycle lanes or pavements.

Mrs Bourne said that, as of June, 15 scooters had been seized by police this financial year.

She added that three people had been prosecuted for illegal use of the scooters in the past year – one for dangerous driving after an elderly woman was injured, and two for driving without insurance.

As for police policy, Mrs Bourne said officers were told to stop anyone they saw using one of the scooters and ‘explain to them that it is illegal’.

She added: “Obviously if the individual then continues, I would expect a more robust approach. In the initial it’s about education.

“My issue with these is with the sale, the industry that are selling these. There’s clearly a big market for them and they’re OK on private land but not on public highways.”

Her answer did not impress Dr Walsh.

He said: “Where I live, I haven’t seen visible street policing for years and yet the use of the electronic scooters goes on unabated.

“Therefore ‘if seen’ is the key to it – and I don’t think there’s any opportunity for them to be seen.

“Certainly there is no visible or folklore evidence of any interventions on electronic scooters in the part of Sussex where I live.”

Calling for a crackdown on the use of the scooters, he added: “It clearly is a growing problem and if nothing is done about it it’s going to get worse.”

Police are targeting hot-spots – with work in Crawley described as ‘pretty successful – and Mrs Bourne encouraged people to report illegal use of the scooters.

She said: “The force is very much proactive around this and their policing stance is very robust.”

To report anti-social behaviour, log on to www.sussex.police.uk