TfL has banned e-scooters from its network (Picture: Mermek)

Private e-scooters banned from TfL network due to fire risks 

Private-use e-scooters have been banned from London’s transport network due to concerns over fire risks. 

Transport for London (TfL), the authority responsible for much of London’s public transport, has announced that all privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles are banned from Monday, 13th December.

The decision has been made because of safety concerns, following recent fires on TfL premises and services, the authority said. 

TfL’s chief safety, health and environment officer, Lilli Matson, said: “Our primary concern is always for the safety of our customers and staff. We have been extremely worried by the recent incident on our public transport services, which involved intense fires and considerable smoke damage. 

“We have worked with London Fire Brigade to determine how we should deal with these devices and, following that review, we have decided to ban them.” 

TfL said customers trying to bring private scooters onto the network will be refused access and not allowed to use its services.

The ban applies to all private e-scooters and e-unicycles, including those than can be folded or carried.

According to TfL, concerns revolve around lithium-ion batteries used to power such scooters, following cases where these batteries ruptured without warning. 

The authority said that if a similar incident was to occur in enclosed areas like a tube train or a bus, there could be significant harm to customers and staff, as well as secondary injuries as customers try to flee the area. 

Privately used e-scooters are still illegal on public roads in the UK, but they are widely available to purchase and are increasingly popular in London and other cities.

The Government is currently considering its position on the use of private e-scooters, with a number of shared scooter trial schemes currently running across the country. 

TfL said it plans to keep the ban under review, pending any future legislation changes by the Government, particularly around safety standards for e-scooters. 

This ban does not include mobility scooters, foldable e-bikes or regular e-bikes, which TfL said are “generally subject to better manufacturing standards”. 

London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Paul Jennings, said: “We have growing concerns about the safety of e-scooters due to the amount of fires we are seeing involving them, so we fully support TfL’s ban of private e-scooters on public transport.

“Fires are dangerous and terrifying wherever they happen, but a fire on the transport network has the potential to become very serious very quickly and involve hundreds of people, particularly on trains where evacuation may be challenging, so anything that can be done to mitigate that risk is a positive step.”

 TfL’s 500 uniformed enforcement officers and police partners will be deployed across the network to ensure customers comply. 

Anyone breaching the ban will also face a fine of up to £1,000. 

Read more: Bolt unveils new safety measures to stop tandem and drunk riding

The Metropolitan Police has urged retailers to be responsible in selling e-scooters and reminded Londoners that the machines are not allowed on public roads. 

British Transport Police Superintendent, Lisa Garrett, said: “Our priority is the safety of passengers and the staff members working across Transport for London services. We’ll be working alongside frontline staff to engage with the public on this issue, and enforce where necessary.” 

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