Bristol man fined £1k for riding e-scooter

There is a lack of information around the legality of the scooters, according to police. Credit: PA

A 44-year-old man has been fined more than £1000 after he was stopped by police in April last year for riding an e-scooter illegally.

Souhail Somrani, of Redfield in Bristol, was reported for driving without insurance after he was seen riding the e-scooter in a public park near Brandon Hill on April 18 last year.

He was also reported for driving a mechanically propelled vehicle outwith the rules of a license - due to the fact he was stopped while riding on a public footpath.

He received six penalty points, and fines and costs totalling £1,058 after being found guilty at Bath Magistrates Court on Thursday 4 February.

Richard McKiernan, of Avon and Somerset Police Traffic Management Unit, said: “This case demonstrates there can be very real consequences for those who are found to be using an electric scooter illegally.

“E-scooters are classified as motor vehicles for the purposes of law. As such, if they are used on a road, pavement or public place, they are subject to the same legal requirements as any motor vehicle – i.e. you must have a driving licence and insurance."

The only e-scooters than can be used in public are those from licensed rental companies taking part in government schemes.

Police have stressed there is a lot of misinformation around the use of private e-scooters, and customers often aren't aware when buying them that they can only be used legally on private land.

Mr McKiernan added that, since the incident, officers have begun seizing e-scooters being used illegally.

“The law isn’t always made clear to customers by shops selling them, but officers do have the power to seize privately owned e-scooters that are being ridden illegally,” he explained.

“The only lawful e-scooters are those which are rented from authorised companies taking part in the Government-led trials.”

Over the past year, the government has begun trialling the use of rental e-scooters across the country for people with a full or provisional driving licence, in conjunction with authorised providers.

Bristol is the first place to trial 'long-term rentals', with customers using Voi e-scooters able to take them home as a means of commuting without using public transport.

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