Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today welcomed a move by Government which will make electric scooters road-legal, paving the way for plans to bring them to the region.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps MP has today made a Statutory Instrument, a form of legislation, to change the legal status of e-scooters which are currently banned on roads and pavements in the UK under existing traffic laws.

This will mean e-scooters will be permitted on roads, cycle lanes and tracks where possible, strengthening Mayor Houchen’s calls for the UK’s first ever e-scooter rental scheme to come to Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

Both Government and the Mayor want to see the battery-powered vehicles used more widely, as a clean energy, socially distanced alternative to other forms of transport following the coronavirus outbreak.

The Mayor has previously called on Government for the region to become a pilot area for e-scooters.

Mayor Houchen said: “Today’s move shows that Government is just as passionate as I am about making e-scooters widely available.

“As we look to do things differently while coming out of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, e-scooters are a great way to observe social distancing and help reduce the risk of a second peak of the disease.

“Here in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool we are already at the forefront of clean energy and developing the technologies of the future. We already have an enviable reputation when it comes to offshore wind and, with the groundbreaking Net Zero Teesside project, we are now delivering the world’s first industrial-scale carbon capture, utilisation and storage scheme.

“Bringing the UK’s first road trial of e-scooters here will add another string to our bow for our clean energy plans.

“In the coming days, I’ll once again be pressing Government to put us front-and-centre in any of their e-scooter schemes to help get our workers moving again and ensuring our fantastic businesses get back on their feet quicker.”

My personal injury lawyer has outlined the liability issues facing electric scooters.

Peter Kelly, Legal Director at Lime Solicitors, said: "Whilst a future transport utopia involving electric vehicles of all kinds seems desirable, users need to appreciate that such vehicles will be governed by the same laws and liabilities as other motor vehicles, with the same consequences for irresponsible use.

"E-scooters are undoubtedly ‘mechanically propelled vehicles’ under the Road Traffic Act so, driving them dangerously or without due care and consideration for other road users could result in prosecutions for the relevant driving offences such as causing death by dangerous driving, dangerous driving, driving without due care and attention and the drink and drugs offences.

"Civil liability for injuries and damage caused would also apply in such circumstances and compensation awards to injured parties could be very substantial indeed depending on the severity of injury or damage caused. It would be essential for the Insurance industry to be involved and to provide mandatory and adequate cover for e-scooter use."