MET Police issues open letter to retailers on responsible sale of e-scooters

The Metropolitan Police, alongside its partners at the Mayor’s Office for London, has issued an open letter to retailers on the responsible sale of e-scooters.

Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal on roads and in public places in the UK, but the letter says many customers may not be aware of this and is urging retailers to ensure there is accurate information, prominent both in-store and online.

“The MPS is engaging with e-scooter users and, where necessary, enforcing the legislation, which can include criminal prosecution; points on the e-scooter rider’s driving licence, fines for no insurance, and seizure of the scooter,” said the letter. “The MPS would be grateful if you, as a responsible retailer, would work with us to ensure your customers have the knowledge they need to remain within the law.”

Legislation was amended earlier this year to allow trials of rental e-scooters, with many micromobility providers across the UK launching schemes. TfL recently launched a competition to select up to three operators for a 12-month trial in the capital, which is due to start in spring 2021.

The full open letter reads:

To whom it may concern

Private E-scooters – remain illegal in the UK

As an e-scooter retailer, we are writing to remind you that all privately owned e-scooters remain illegal in public places and on the road in London. As you may be aware, Transport for London (TfL) has recently launched an offer for companies to come forward to operate a trial of rental e-scooters in London in the spring of 2021. Legislation was amended in July 2020 to allow for rental e-scooter trials.

As retailers, many of you will have seen an increase in sales of e-scooters over recent months, during lockdowns and now in the lead-up to Christmas. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), together with Transport for London (TfL), understand that many customers buying e-scooters may not be aware that they are illegal in public places and on roads in London, and the UK as a whole.

We urge you to ensure there is accurate information, prominent both in-store and online, to make customers aware that private e-scooters are illegal on public roads, pavements and other public places.

The MPS is engaging with e-scooter users and, where necessary, enforcing the legislation, which can include criminal prosecution; points on the e-scooter rider’s driving licence, fines for no insurance, and seizure of the scooter. The MPS would be grateful if you, as a responsible retailer, would work with us to ensure your customers have the knowledge they need to remain within the law.

The TfL e-scooter rental trial will be a way for TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT) to review the safety of e-scooters and how they may be used in the future on the roads of London. For now, all privately owned e-scooters remain illegal.

Sadly, last year there was a fatality of an e-scooter rider on London’s roads and we have seen a year on year increase in collisions by those using them. The safety of all road users and pedestrians is our priority.

For the safety of your customers, we’re asking you to display information at the point of sale that the use of private e-scooters on public roads, pavements and other public places is illegal.

Yours faithfully,

Will Norman
Mayor of London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner

Commander Kyle Gordon
Metropolitan Police Service and National Roads Operations Lead

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