The government could soon make privately-owned e-scooters legal on roads in England.
With the popularity of electric scooters continuing to rise across the country, and the latest data from Which? and Halfords indicating there has been a 184% increase in sales for e-mobility products year on year in November 2020, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has now told the Commons Transport Select Committee during a meeting this week that legislation to make e-scooters legal on roads will be included in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May.
“In the future, I want to crack down on the illegal use on roads of non-compliant e-scooters,” Mr Shapps told the committee.
The current law states that e-scooters can only be used on roads in England if they are part of a trial rental scheme – of which there currently is, and has been, a number of in Greater Manchester over the past couple of years – and they have to have safety features including automatic lights and maximum speeds of 15.5mph.
E-scooters are actually classed as motor vehicles, which means that the same rules that apply to motor vehicles, also apply to e-scooters – including being in possession of a full UK driving license, insurance, and the need to be taxed.
Read more: E-scooter sales are soaring – but what are the current laws in Greater Manchester?
Privately-owned e-scooters can only legally be used on private land with the permission of the landowner, and they cannot be ridden on a UK public road, cycle lane, or pavement.
However, they are frequently seen in cities and towns across the country.
This illegal usage is why the government and transport ministers are reportedly said to be considering ways to legalise them, with Mr Shapps telling the Transport Select Committee this week that: “We will take powers to properly regulate and then be able to decide the usage of them.
“They’re a reality, they exist. 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.”
The potential legislation to make private e-scooters road legal has been met with mixed reviews by members of the government’s Transport Select Committee, with some praising the move for the positive impact it could have on the environment, while others have raised concerns over the safety of the scooters and their growing involvement in collisions.
Committee member Ben Bradshaw said e-scooters are a “convenient, cheap and environmentally-friendly form of transport”, and asked Mr Shapps when the DfT will “get a move on and properly license these things?”
Mr Shapps answered: “I shall announce it on 10 May.”
Another committee member, Conservative MP Simon Jupp, on the contrary however raised concerns over e-scooters’ safety, and pointed to the fact that they have lead to “900 collisions, 11 of which were fatal”.
AA president Edmund King also aid after the meeting: “The government is right to address this issue and bring in regulations, rather than allowing some of our cities to be over-run like the Wild West with illegal scooters [as] micro-mobility and e-technology can have a positive effect on movement in our cities.
“But we must ensure that movement is safe.”
Featured Image – Pixabay
Police warn criminals ‘don’t bother’ attending Parklife after already making arrest
Greater Manchester Police have said that criminals shouldn’t ‘bother’ coming to Parklife festival this weekend, after already making an arrest at the festival site.
Officers have been carrying out searches of people arriving on site this week – and have already arrested a 24-year-old man.
A quantity of pills and a knife were both recovered from the man, who has been arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs and possession of a bladed article.
After the arrest, Superintendent Phil Spurgeon issued a statement to criminals, saying ‘don’t bother coming to Parklife’.
He said: “We have a really robust police and partnership community safety operation for the festival, and the arrest and seizure yesterday demonstrates the vigilance of security staff, our thorough search procedures and our commitment to keeping people safe.
“Make no mistake, illegal items such as weapons and drugs can have fatal consequences. Our top priority this weekend is keeping people safe, and anyone caught trying to take such items into the festival will be robustly dealt with.
“I hope the genuine festival-goers are excited for the fantastic weekend ahead and I am confident the majority will enjoy the event responsibly and safely.”
Greater Manchester Police and Parklife security staff will be working closely together to intercept anyone travelling to the festival with criminal intentions.
The arrest on 8 June was thanks to the festival’s drug detection dogs.
In a formal statement addressing the situation, the city‘s flagship further education institution says some of its systems have been accessed by an “unauthorised party” and that data has “likely been copied” as a result of this.
The University’s in-house experts are said to be “working around the clock” to resolve the issue.
External support teams are also said to be working in collaboration with the University to understand what data has been accessed.
Patrick Hackett – Registrar, Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester – explained in a statement issued this morning: “Regrettably, I have to share with you the news that the University is the victim of a cyber incident, [as] it has been confirmed that some of our systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party and data have likely been copied.
“Our in-house experts and established expert external support are working around the clock to resolve this incident, and we are working to understand what data has been accessed”.
Mr Hackett said he understands the nature of the issue will “cause concern to members of our community”, and says the University is “very sorry for this”.
The University says it is also working with relevant authorities – including the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the National Crime Agency, and other regulatory bodies – to resolve the issue, and will provide information to those affected as soon as they are able to.
Students and staff are also be told to be vigilant to any suspicious phishing emails within the coming days – with the University’s IT Services team having published some relevant advice to refer to.