Police seize over 100 e-scooters in first half of 2021 in crackdown on those flouting rules

A crackdown in Birmingham city centre on Monday saw police seize a further 14 e-scooters confiscated Credit: PA Images

More than 100 e-scooters have been seized during the first half of the year by West Midlands Police.

The police force have stressed that the only place a privately owned e-scooter could be used was on private land, with the landowner's permission.

As well as confirming that 106 e-scooters were seized in its area between January and June, the force said further work to tackle illegal riders would address concerns around users putting others at risk.

A crackdown in Birmingham city centre on Monday saw police seize a further 14 e-scooters.

Although e-scooters are legally available to buy, it is against the law to ride a privately owned one in public places including roads, parks or pavements.

Voi's e-scooter launched in Birmingham back in 2020 Credit: PA Images

VOI e-scooters being trialled in Birmingham, Coventry and Sandwell are legal, but can only be ridden legally in places where people can use bicycles such as roads and cycle lanes.

Escooters: What you need to know

Can I ride around on my own electric scooter?

No. You are only allowed to use electric scooters on private land with the permission of the land owner and in certain areas undergoing government trials.

If you are not using a scooter as part of a trial, it is illegal in spaces set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders and anyone using them on a public road can be prosecuted.

You could face a fine, get penalty points on your licence and the e-scooter could be impounded.

And in trial zones, you must only use the scooters provided by designated companies running the trial. Private scooters cannot be used on public roads, even in the trial zones where scooters are permitted.

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Where are the trials happening?

Trials are currently taking place in areas including Derby, Northamptonshire, Nottingham, Redditch, Staffordshire and West Midlands.

You must use one of the registered apps to sign up and you can only use the scooters during permitted hours and in certain areas.

For example, if you try to ride a scooter along canals in Birmingham, it will automatically stop and you will not be able to proceed. Similarly, it's often the case that the apps will not let you unlock a scooter at night. This is to ensure that no one rides a scooter drunk or intoxicated, as careless and dangerous driving offences also apply to users of e-scooters.

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Do I need a licence to take part in the trial?

You must have the category Q entitlement on your driving licence. When you sign up to the apps, you must take pictures of both sides of your current valid licence.

A full or provisional UK licence for categories AM, A or B includes entitlement for category Q. If you have one of these licences, you can use an e-scooter.

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Can I use escooters on pavements?

No, you may use them on the road and in cycle lanes, but not on pavements.

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How fast do they go?

The maximum speed for an e-scooter is 15.5mph. Sometimes they automatically go slower than this in designated "slow zones."

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Do I need my own insurance?

E-scooters must have motor insurance, but you do not need to arrange this as this will be provided by your e-scooter rental operator.

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Do I need to wear a helmet?

Government advice and rental firms recommend you wear a cycle helmet when using an e-scooter, but they are not a legal requirement.

As with riding a bicycle, it's recommended you wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing so that other road users can see you in daylight, poor light and in the dark.

Some apps like Voi, being trialled in cities like Birmingham, give rewards such as money off if you take a selfie of you with your helmet on.

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West Midlands Police also explained that whilst they support greener ways to travel around our towns and cities, they've called on the Government to ensure safety isn't compromised.

It comes as a petition was taken to parliament calling on the government to do more for those with visual impairments such as banning e-scooters altogether.

West Midlands Police have also reiterated they promise ongoing action to combat rule-breakers.