2Wheels Greater Manchester is encouraging e-scooter retailers to make sure customers are made aware of the legal restrictions surrounding their use.
The appeal of e-scooters – particularly as Christmas or birthday gifts – has grown steadily in the UK over recent years, though some people remain unaware of the laws that apply to them.
At present, it remains illegal to use a privately owned e-scooter on public roads, cycle lanes and pavements. This is despite the fact retailers are free to sell them.
According to an investigation commissioned by Transport for Greater Manchester and Safer Roads Greater Manchester, the majority of customers buying e-scooters in the region are being made aware of the legal restrictions surrounding their use by retailers.
The investigation saw more than 40 stores across Greater Manchester – including high street retailers and independent shops – visited by ‘mystery shoppers’ to make sure that staff provided the correct information about the use of e-scooters.
The shoppers found that 75% of retailers correctly told customers that it is illegal to ride e-scooters on roads and pavements, and that they are only permitted to be used on private land.
Staff at almost two thirds of the stores surveyed also recommended that customers wear a helmet when riding an e-scooter, even though they are not a legal requirement.
But the exercise, carried out by 2WheelsGM, found that some stores had a lack of understanding of the danger of fire while charging e-scooters unattended. Other areas explored during the mystery shop revealed whilst stores had some knowledge of the guidance, they lacked the necessary detail to ensure e-scooter users had a full understanding of the safety and legal aspects of riding.
It also revealed that most shop staff were unable to provide details on the Government-backed e-scooter trials which are being run in Rochdale and Salford with the support of local councils, TfGM and Lime, the world’s largest shared electric bike and scooter company.
Lime e-scooters can be rented in both boroughs by anyone aged 18 and over who has at least a provisional driving licence. Theses can be used in cycle lanes, cycle tracks and on non-motorway roads – essentially anywhere a bike can go.
Supt Julie Ellison, from Greater Manchester Police’s Specialist Operations Team, said: “When buying an e-scooter, many members of the public may be unaware of the rules that prohibit them from being ridden on roads and pavements, so responsible retailers should make this clear at the point of sale.
“Some e-scooters can reach speeds upwards of 70mph, so these rules are in place for the safety of not only those riding them, but the wider public. If you are caught using an e-scooter on a public road, pavement, or other prohibited space you are committing a criminal offence and could be prosecuted.”
Resources to support e-scooter retailers
2Wheels Greater Manchester works with businesses and other organisations across the region to help reduce risks for employees who ride mopeds, scooters or motorcycles.
As part of this work – and to improve awareness of e-scooter laws – 2Wheels Greater Manchester has produced a poster and a flyer for retailers and businesses to use/display.
24 January 2022