Kent police and crime commissioner warns of additional policing burden from e-scooters as more than 800 incidents reported to local authorities
The Government has been urged to take action over the “menace” of e-scooters and halt their rollout to UK towns and cities.
The scooters — some of which can reach speeds of almost 30mph — have seen a spike in sales and are being trialled across the country.
But concerns have been raised following a number of reported injuries, as well as their illegal use by children.
Matthew Scott, Kent’s police and crime commissioner (PCC), has called on ministers to halt the rollout and review the situation.
There are about 50 government-backed trials running in towns and cities across the UK, where rented e-scooters can be driven on roads and cycle lanes.
Outside of these areas, it is legal to buy and sell an e-scooter but riding them on public roads, pavements or cycle lanes is against the law and can carry a £300 fine and six penalty points.
Riding e-scooters on private land is legal with the landowner’s permission.
There are more than 7,500 rental scooters in use, but more than 800 incidents have been reported to local authorities and 122 users have been banned from using them as part of trials in the future, according to data supplied by the Kent PCC’s office.
Mr Scott said their use must be reviewed before more people got hurt and before trials were expanded further.
He said: “Inconsiderate riders are becoming a menace on our roads and pavements, ignoring the law and causing dangers for other road users.
“We urgently need decisive action now on their future, as we’re in danger of losing control of the issue and placing additional burdens on policing.
“Too many people are using them in places they shouldn’t and we need to stop them being bought for young people.”
He said there should be no more rollouts until work was done with retailers, manufacturers and the public to ensure safety and that people understood the law.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Safety will always be our top priority and the trials currently taking place in 31 regions across England are allowing us to better understand the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space.
“E-scooters could help ease the burden on our transport network while creating a green legacy. By encouraging a shift away from private cars, e-scooters can improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the UK as we build back greener.”
In Buckinghamshire, a 20-year-old man was fined and handed six penalty points earlier this month after riding an e-scooter in Marlow.
Officers stopped him and he was told to push his scooter rather than ride it, but he rode off, Thames Valley Police said.
He was stopped again and became aggressive and threatening towards the officer, refusing to surrender the e-scooter, the force said.
Sergeant Robin Hughes, of Marlow Neighbourhood Team, said: “If e-scooter owners ignore warnings and ride their scooters without insurance and a full licence then their scooters will be seized and they are likely to receive a fine and penalty points as in this case.”