New driving rules will see rental e-scooters allowed to be used on roads across the UK from Saturday in a bid to ease pressure on public transport. The Department for Transport says the rentable e-scooters will be banned from pavements and limited to 15.5mph but will be allowed to run on public roads.
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However, motoring lawyer Nick Freeman has warned the agile and silent nature of the e-scooters will make the new tools “extremely dangerous”.
He warns there will be “numerous serious accidents” as e-scooter riders nop in and out of traffic which will present an “additional challenge” to motorists.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Freeman said: “They are going to be extremely dangerous and there are going to be numerous serious accidents because people who use them inevitably will nip in and out.
“Motorists are not going to see them, it will be a huge challenge.
“These things are going to come quickly behind you. They are going to be in your blindspot.
“It will present an additional challenge to motorots in addition to the challenges they already face.”
He added: “It’s going to increase the number of accidents and there will be a lot more motorists prosecuted.”
In a crucial warning to motorists, Mr Freeman warns drivers will be blamed for an accident with an e-scooter in a similar way to hitting a cyclist.
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He warns the “default position” will be to blame the motorist for the collision unless the driver can prove he was in complete control of the vehicle.
But with several in-car distractions such as mobile phones, sat nav devices and built-in technology this could be difficult to ascertain.
He told Express.co.uk: “The starting point, the default position is if you are involved in an accident with a bike, with an electric bike, with an e scooter it will be your fault. It’s not the legal presumption but it is the starting point.
“It will then be on you to actually show if you were exercising due care and attention, you were not distracted by the radio, looking at your sat nav, being on your mobile phone.
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“Unfortunately if you are using your mobile phone hands free and you have an accident with one of these they will say it was your fault.
“This is because the level of distraction is the same hands free or hand held as drink driving.”
There have been fears over the safety of the new e-scooters after a series of global fatalities from people using the equipment.
Last year TV presenter and YouTube star Emily Hartridge was killed when her e-scooter was hit by a lorry in South-West London.
The e-scooter trial was supposed to run in 2021 but was moved forward to encourage alternative transport methods during the coronavirus lockdown.
Mr Freeman has pushed for infrastructure to be put in place to help reduce incidents which could lead to devastating consequences for motorists.
He told Express.co.uk: “From a legal perspective it is going to be a nightmare for the motorist. There will be many more accidents.
“If you are involved in an accident where someone has a serious injury and or is fatally injured and you’re on your phone, they’ve nipped in and out and you haven’t seen them because you were distracted, you will be charged with probable cause of death by dangerous driving.
“Or certainly a fatal due care [and attention] which is five years in prison, death by dangerous driving is 14 yeras so it’s going to be a nightmare for the motorist.
“At least with a moped you what them, these move by stealth, they are silent.”
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