E-scooter warning: Celebrity lawyer demands new rules on scurge of UK pavements

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Nick Freeman, who has successfully represented high-profile clients including football’s David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson, is demanding a strict licensing system for riders. This follows nine deaths involving electric scooters from January to October and 300 serious injuries.

Mr Freeman, 65, is also insisting that cyclists wear a registered identification vest, use only special bike lanes and receive penalty points for jumping red lights and other offences.

He has launched a petition with 10,000 signatures. It means the Government must respond within nine days.

Currently, the only e-scooters that can be used on public roads are ones rented in Government-backed trials. They have a speed limit of 15.5mph, but some privately owned e-scooters can reach up to 68mph.

Mr Freeman said: “It’s easy to always see the car as the ‘bad guy’. But if we are to make the roads safe for all users, we need law ‑ fair, robust and workable.

“In over 40 years as a criminal and road traffic lawyer, I haven’t seen evidence of this when it comes to cyclists and, latterly, e-scooters. E-scooters are termed powered transporters and fall under the same rules as other motorised vehicles.

“Yet since the riders are anonymous, those who use them can scoot along with impunity. There’s no accountability.”

He added: “Cycling law is also hampered by lack of ID. It can allow the irresponsible to ride how they like, jump red lights and cycle on the pavement without fear of being caught.

Bicycle sales have soared since Covid and there are also more e-scooters on the streets.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety has estimated injuries linked to e-scooter crashes are costing the NHS £1,000 a patient.

Responding to a consultation on its Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy in 2018, the Government said: “The safety case for a testing/licensing system for cyclists is not as strong as that for drivers.”

It also feared tougher rules could deter people from cycling.

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