They have been marketed as ideal Christmas gifts to beat transport strikes and high fuel prices, but from today electric scooters will be banned from carrying riders on two of the country’s big train operators.
TransPennine Express, which operates in the north of England, and Avanti West Coast, which runs services on the main line of the west coast, both attributed the risk of fire posed by the vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries, which could explode without warning. May explode, emitting toxic fumes. ,
It brings together ten train operators and transport officials who refuse to transport privately owned e-scooters, which are unregulated in the UK. It is illegal to ride them on public roads and the latest move is likely to further reduce their appeal to commuters.
East Midlands Railway banned on 1 December, following Northern, the second largest operator in the UK, on 19 December. Those restrictions followed the LNER, Lumo, Grand Central and Transport for Wales., as well as restrictions in place over the past year on services operated by Transport for London and Tyne and Wear Metro. Anyone who breaches TfL’s rules faces a fine of up to £1,000. Gatwick Express, Great Western Railway, Southeastern and Thameslink still allow them.
Ian Peacock, head of safety and security at TransPennine Express, said the operator was also banning hoverboards and e-skateboards. “Most of these devices are not approved for use in the UK and the batteries are often unregulated,” he said.
Mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs and e-bikes, which are built to higher standards, will be exempt from the rule.
More than one million privately owned e-scooters are used illegally, and rising deaths on the roads are coming under pressure for the government to act.
Police chiefs appealed to the public not to buy them as Christmas gifts and warned that if the riders were caught they would be confiscated.
However, some forces have been unable or unwilling to seize enough vehicles to act as a deterrent.
The Metropolitan Police seized 4,000 scooters last year, but only 1,100 this year following a policy change in November 2021.
A coroner’s report reveals dire consequences in the death of a 14-year-old girl, Fatima Abukar, who suffered horrific head injuries while riding an e-scooter at less than 11 mph. She was not wearing any safety equipment when she fell under the wheels of the minibus. The coroner reported that the rate of road deaths had doubled over the course of a year as the rate of enforcement had dropped, and called for action to prevent future deaths.
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