E-scooter crashes have surged in London, with new figures revealing the vehicles were involved in 258 collisions in the first half of 2021 compared with just nine during the whole of 2018.
The data, obtained from the Metropolitan Police by Labour’s London Assembly policing and crime spokesman Unmesh Desai, also showed that there were just 28 incidents in the city in 2019, but a huge leap to 266 the following year.
It is illegal to use private e-scooters in the UK, except on private land, but they remain a common sight on roads and pavements in urban areas.
Mr Desai, who obtained the figures in response to a question to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “The use of illegal e-scooters on our roads and pavements is putting Londoners at risk of significant harm, especially the most vulnerable in our communities such as people with limited mobility, visual impairments and hearing loss.”
He said the figures were likely to be “just the tip of the iceberg” but said it was “encouraging” to see the scale of enforcement action taken by Transport for London (TfL) and the Met Police so far.
Last month, TfL banned private e-scooters on its network after one burst into flames on the Underground at Parsons Green Tube station.
Officers in London seized 3,637 privately-owned e-scooters in total between January and November 2021. Owners who want to retrieve them must pay a £150 fee, plus a £10 per day storage charge, Mr Desai said.
Charities have called for the sale of private e-scooters to be banned following accidents and even deaths across the country.
Three e-scooter riders died after being involved in accidents during the 12 months to June 2021, according to figures from the Department for Transport, while more than 700 were injured.
Among those who died was 19-year-old George McGowan, who was hit and killed by a car while riding his e-scooter in Portsmouth in June 2021.
On New Year’s Day this year, 74-year-old David Ackers died at the scene after crashing a relative’s e-scooter into two parked cars in Tameside, Greater Manchester.
Figures also show that 131 pedestrians were injured in collisions involving e-scooters in the year to June 2021.
The National Federation of the Blind UK called for e-scooters to be banned from shops after a collision in a south London park left a three-year-old with life-changing injuries. The charity said e-scooters made pavements unsafe for pedestrians.
Additional reporting by PA