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Carin Hunt discusses the registration of cyclists with Lexis PSL

In a recent Lexis PSL News Analysis article, Carin Hunt considers how cycling and e-scooters may be regulated in the future and the potential impact for practitioners on personal injury law.

Sabina Habib of Lexis Nexis interviewed Carin Hunt for a Personal Injury Analysis piece, published in July 2021. We summarise the their conversation below.

Registration of cyclists

The first idea considered by Carin in this interview was originally floated by motoring lawyer Nick Freeman. Freeman proposed the creation of a licensing system for cyclists and e-scooter riders. The suggestion is for cyclists to be compulsory registered, to wear numbered tabards, and be eligible for penalty points should they break the rules of the road.

Carin cites expense, practical complexity, and the potential hidden cost of dissuading cyclists towards less environmentally friendly transport as key barriers for a proposed licensing system. 

In Carin’s view, it appears extremely unlikely that the government would introduce a system akin to the one outlined above. Citing Baroness Vere of Norbiton who, during a House of Lord’s discussion, stated that the discouragement cost would likely “outweigh any road safety or other benefits”.

Legal changes in light of e-scooter incidents

The next issue considered by Carin in the publication relates to e-scooter incidents which have garnered significant press attention recently. Currently, it is illegal in the UK to ride a privately owned e-scooter on public highways, cycle lanes, or pavements. E-scooters are legally treated as ‘powered transporters’ by the Department of Transport, and so without number plates, signalling ability, or visible rear lights, they cannot lawfully be ridden on roads. There is no special regime governing powered transporters which are subject to the same regulations contained in the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Several e-scooter trials are underway across the UK. As part of the trials, e-scooters are speed limited to 15.5mph on public roads, with the technology limiting speed further in ‘go-slow areas’. However, as Carin notes, the trials have not been unproblematic. The Coventry trial was paused following reports of e-scooters being ridden on pavements. The Royal National Institute of Blind People has raised various concerns regarding the risks e-scooters posed to the visually impaired; the scooters have also increasingly been increasingly used in crime.

The future for e-scooters?

Going forward, Carin anticipates the introduction of a specific legal regime for e-scooters, including limitations on usage. This regime will likely tackle some of the tribulations found in the trials in order to widen public access to this form of transport. A report is expected to be produced in May 2022 upon the conclusion of the trials, which should provide further clarity on the future of these vehicles.

The full article

To read Carin’s full analysis on Lexis PSL, please click here. This is a subscription service.

Find out more

Carin practices in the areas of clinical negligence, personal injury, international injury and public law. To instruct Carin or find out more about her practice, contact Paul Barton or Mark Gardner on +44 (0)20 7353 6381 for a confidential discussion.

Legal Blog & Publications, News, Personal Injury 30 Jul, 2021


Carin Hunt

Call: 2018

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