Thames Valley Police boss calls on major retailers to stop the sale of e-scooters

    Matthew Barber has written to four major retailers (Argos, Currys, Decathlon and Halfords) in an effort to prevent the sale of illegal e-scooters.

    Currently in the UK, it is illegal to use private e-scooters on public roads across England and rental e-scooters are only available through government trials in around 23 towns and cities across the country.

    In Milton Keynes, the rented E-scooters are primarily used on the redway network. 

    The operators of the scooters have their own policies and restrict usage to over 18, but legally you need to be old enough to hold a current driving licence to use the scooters. This includes provisional licences from the age of 16.

    Matthew Barber, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police, has written to four major retailers (Argos, Currys, Decathlon and Halfords) in an effort to prevent the sale of illegal e-scooters.

    In his letter to retailers, Matthew Barber said: “The use of privately owned e-scooters in public places is currently illegal. E-scooters are classed as motor vehicles, requiring insurance, which is currently not available. I know that you are aware of this fact, as you include a disclaimer on your website, yet you continue to offer these products for sale.

    “Of course, I entirely accept the sale of e-scooters is perfectly legal as they could be used on private land, and indeed in due course the legal position may well change. I also appreciate as a commercial entity you are entitled, and indeed obliged to deliver profit for the business. Nevertheless, I would ask if you consider the continued sales to be consistent with being a responsible corporate citizen.

    “Approved e-scooter pilots only operate in limited areas, provide insurance, and require a driving licence. Despite your disclaimer, you are well aware that the vast majority of these products sold in your stores and online will be used illegally. This is not just a technical point of law, but also one of risk to your customers and the wider public. Encouraging the use of these vehicles leads to uninsured, unlicensed riders on our roads, often without any safety equipment such as helmets.

    “I fully understand that there is nothing to prevent you selling these products, but I would ask you to consider if it is responsible to continue to do so. No doubt, you feel the disclaimer gives you protection by having informed your customers, but we both know that this is a bureaucratic nicety. I would ask if you would be content for your children to ride an e-scooter illegally, potentially putting themselves and others at risk and urge you to reconsider your position.”

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