Should e-scooters be allowed in public places in Wales?

With calls for everyone to use the car less and use more eco-friendly modes of transport, you could be forgiven for thinking e-scooters could be part of the solution. But there's just one issue - they're illegal to use in Wales.

Despite them becoming a common sight on our city streets, the battery-powered scooters can currently only be purchased for use on private land in Wales as they can't be insured for use on public roads.

Over the border, it's a different story. A pilot scheme is taking place in more than 30 areas across England to see if e-scooters are the way forward. No councils in Wales signed up for the trial.

Sam Pooke, from Voi Electric Scooters, one of the companies running the trial in England, says Wales is currently missing out by not taking part.

"Take a look at the trials that are taking place across the UK, in cities and towns of all shapes and sizes and the success they've been.

"Voi alone has replaced over 5 million car journeys across our trials and if you add that up with the cities that other operators are in, you're starting to see micro-mobility make a serious difference in changing our cities and battling against climate change."

In May the UK Government announced that new rules to expand legal use of e-scooters are a priority for the upcoming year. The Welsh Government says it is currently looking into the evidence around whether e-scooters should be allowed here.

There are concerns from charities like RNIB Cymru that blind or partially sighted people could be caught in collisions with e-scooters.

Howell Williams, from the charity RNIB Cymru, says he's very worried about e-scooters being allowed in Wales. He is partially sighted and says he's already nervous about going out and being caught in a collision.

"They come at speed from behind, there's no warning. I occasionally have my wife with me. To come [into town] on my own these days, I've seriously lost all confidence."

Many people are currently breaking the law by using e-scooters in public places in Wales. Inspector Gareth Morgan, from South Wales Police says they are aware people are using them and there are consequences if they are caught.

"Because they're illegal to use on roads or public places, the reality is, they [the rider] will not be able to produce the required insurance, therefore it's highly likely the e-scooters will be crushed and destroyed.

"We've had recently, in the Cardiff area, a serious road traffic collision involving an e-scooter where somebody was hospitalised. There's been another in the Rhondda Cynon Taff area, although thankfully not as serious.

"We also get calls from the public where people are using e-scooters and causing an annoyance to the general public, so we're duty bound to react and respond to that."

Swedish firm Voi has operated Bristol’s e-scooter scheme for two years.

For the walking and cycling charity, Sustrans, it says the right infrastructure needs to be in place before they can be allowed.

"We recommend improving cycling infrastructure that would also help to protect users of e-scooters from motor vehicles, setting limitations on speed and power, and banning their use on the footway, except where cycling is legally permitted.

"In regards to safety we need to continue to learn and review evidence from the ongoing trial schemes and countries where e-scooters are legal and more popular."

See more on this story on Sharp End on Monday, July 4th, at 10.45pm on ITV Wales. You can also catch-up here.