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Unionist peer urges PSNI to step up enforcement of ban on electric scooters ‘before there is a tragedy’

Lord Rogan calls for action as vehicles are illegal in NI unless used on private property

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Popular: Electric scooters are illegal in Northern Ireland unless used on private property

Popular: Electric scooters are illegal in Northern Ireland unless used on private property

Popular: Electric scooters are illegal in Northern Ireland unless used on private property

Police have been urged to visibly enforce the ban on electric scooters here before someone is badly injured or killed.

Despite these electric vehicles being illegal in Northern Ireland, unless used on private property, it is clear that they are being freely driven on our public roads and pavements – sometimes by young people.

Despite the hefty price tag, e-scooters were also a popular Christmas present.

In response to a Freedom of Information request by the Belfast Telegraph about fines, the PSNI said it “does not hold information”, nor does it “hold any vehicle classification that would identify electric scooters”.

And now UUP peer Lord Rogan – who described e-scooter users as “joyriders” – has told this newspaper it is time for the police “to send a powerful message” to the law breakers.

“The deterrence level must be raised and that requires court appearances and harsh penalties for those found guilty,” he said.

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Lord Rogan has branded some e-scooter users as ‘joyriders’. Credit: Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament

Lord Rogan has branded some e-scooter users as ‘joyriders’. Credit: Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament

Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament (

Lord Rogan has branded some e-scooter users as ‘joyriders’. Credit: Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament

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Previously the PSNI told the Belfast Telegraph that enforcement action on e-scooters had been “stepped up” although, judging by the number of complaints made to this newspaper by motorists and pedestrians, there is little evidence of his having occurred.

Lord Rogan pointed out that 10 people have died in UK e-scooter incidents over the last 21 months, while a further 784 have been injured over the same period.

Having previously raised the issue in the House of Lords, the UUP peer welcomed “the continuing ban on them being ridden in Northern Ireland, other than on private land”.

He added: “If we want to avoid the volume of e-scooter accidents in Great Britain being replicated in Northern Ireland, this ban must be enforced.”

Lord Rogan also paid tribute to this newspaper for continuing to highlight the growing problem with these vehicles being ridden in public.

“I commend the Belfast Telegraph for continuing its focus on the scourge of e-scooters on our streets and, having spoken to officers, know it is a matter of serious concern to the PSNI which has lots of other priorities to deal with,” he said.

“That said, I believe it would send a powerful message to e-scooter joyriders – for that is what they are – if prosecutions were brought against individuals caught breaking the law.”

This newspaper submitted an FOI asking how many people had been fined or cautioned for using electric scooters in Northern Ireland between 2015 and 2021.

In response the PSNI said they don’t hold such information.

When the Belfast Telegraph raised readers’ concerns over the proliferation of e-scooters on Northern Ireland’s roads with the police in May, a senior PSNI officer warned that misuse would lead to penalties.

Inspector Rosie Leech, from the PSNI’s Road Policing Unit, said the vehicles “should only be used on private property with the permission of the landowner and should not be on pavements, roads or public spaces”.

“Anyone found using one on a public road or in a park should expect to receive a formal warning as a minimum course of action,” she said.

“There is also the real possibility of riders being issued with fixed penalty notices.

“Officers also have powers to seize a motor vehicle which is being used in a manner likely to cause annoyance, with a fee of £150 payable to release the vehicle.”

Although environmentally friendly, e-scooters — which can be modified to reach speeds of over 40 miles per hour — have not been approved for public road usage.

They have, however, been used in hundreds of robberies, assaults, thefts and other crimes in various UK cities over recent months, with criminals preferring them to bicycles or mopeds because they are fast, silent — and unregistered.

In Great Britain, the punishments are even more severe, with riders risking a £300 fixed penalty notice and six points on their driving licence if stopped by police.

Over the past year, trials have taken place throughout the UK as the government considers whether to bring legislation in line with the majority of other European countries who allow e-scooters on their roads.

Even then, new legislation may apply to rented vehicles only.

It is not illegal to buy e-scooters and they are widely available online and in local outlets and chains such as Halfords at a cost of between £300 and £700.

Halfords, who have 13 branches in Northern Ireland, make it clear on their website that it is illegal to use an e-scooter on a public road, pavement, cycle lane or bridal way.

The company adds, however, that they have recently launched a petition to get the law changed.

Their online statement says: “Our petition calls for the government to legalise the use of all electric scooters on public roads, and for the UK laws to catch up with the rest of the world.

“They are legal and allowed on the streets of many countries across Europe and elsewhere.”


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