A NUMBER of e-scooters have been seized as part of a police crackdown on their illegal and unsafe use. 

Dorset Police has seized 25 e-scooters for being ridden on public land or having been involved in suspected criminal activity.

Cracking down on the illegal use of e-scooters plays an important part of Dorset Police's Operation Relentless which aims to tackle anti-social behaviour and has seen two days of action. 

People were asked to sign an agreement whereby they agreed to stop using their e-scooter illegally on public roads.

In total since the beginning of the year, more than 40 riders of privately owned e-scooters have been stopped and spoken to before being issued with warnings.

Officers also have the power to seize e-scooters that are either found to be used illegally or involved in criminal activity.

Over the course of the summer, 14 have been taken away from riders for being used in criminality, with a further 11 e-scooters having been seized for having no insurance. 

E-scooters, also known as electric scooters, have seen a surge in popularity over the last few months, but privately owned e-scooters are currently illegal to use in public spaces. This includes roads, pavements, cycle lanes, beach promenades or any publicly accessible land, such as parks and car parks.

In addition, riders of e-scooters hired through the Beryl trial scheme currently operating in Bournemouth and Poole were also stopped where they were found to be using them improperly, including riding on pavements.

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Inspector Craig Tatton of the roads policing unit said: “E-scooters have become a real issue for some local residents and complaints about improper use have increased among our communities. We are also seeing more people riding them as a result of the Government trials taking place. However, it still remains illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter on any public land including pavements, roads and promenades.

“Riders could be committing an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and, if used on the pavement, the Highway Act 1835. In short, unless you’ve hired the e-scooter through a Government approved trial scheme you are not allowed to ride it on public land. 

“We’ve spoke to lots of people to explain the rules around e-scooters and the dangers they can pose to pedestrians and other road users. Generally people were understanding and appreciated the advice they were given.”

David Sidwick, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I’m very glad to see Dorset Police taking the issue of illegal use of e-scooters so seriously. I believe that if used properly and responsibly, e-scooters could be a transformative mode of transport, but sadly many people still use them in a way that is dangerous to both themselves and pedestrians.

“The Force have been conducting operations and have seized e-scooters that were not being used legally, sending a clear message that this will not be tolerated in Dorset.

“We’re telling everyone – if you want to ride an e-scooter, the only way to do so legally is to use one of the council run hire schemes or to ride your privately owned scooter on private land. If you persist in using your e-scooter illegally, you run the risk of having your device seized as well.”

The Government has announced locations throughout the UK, including Bournemouth and Poole, where e-scooter rental scheme trials are taking place. This allows individuals to hire an e-scooter from an official scheme and ride legally. Privately owned e-scooters are not part of this trial.

Phillip Ellis, CEO of Beryl, said: “Beryl's e-scooter scheme in Bournemouth and Poole provides the community with a green, convenient and enjoyable way for people to travel, providing a clear alternative to car journeys. 

‘’As part of the Government's e-scooter trials, they are classed as a type of motor vehicle and require a valid driving licence, insurance and for users to abide by the rules of the road.

‘’All users of our service need to abide by these laws and are reminded to through safety reminders within our app as well as our terms and conditions. In any instance where our vehicles are being misused, Beryl reserves the right to ban the relevant people from our scheme and, where appropriate, will refer the matter to the police.

“We will continue to work with the council, police and other stakeholders to support the safe and responsible use of our vehicles.’’

Inspector Tatton added: “We are here to support our communities and we don’t want to stop anyone enjoying the summer, but we do want to make sure people aren’t causing problems for others or committing an offence. 

“Riders could face a fine, penalty points on their licence or even disqualification from driving, as well as having their e-scooters seized and destroyed.”

What are the rules around privately owned e-scooters? 
•           The only place you can ride a privately-owned e-scooter is on private land with the landowner’s permission.
•           It is against the law to ride an e-scooter on any public land. This includes roads, pavements, cycle lanes, beach promenades, bridleways, or any publicly accessible land such as parks and car parks. 
•           An e-scooter is classed as a powered transporter and they are treated as a motor vehicle and fall under the Road Traffic Act 1988. They are subject to the same legal requirements as motor vehicles. This includes MOT, tax, licensing, insurance, and specific construction regulations.
•           If you are caught using an e-scooter on a public road, pavement, or other prohibited space you are committing a criminal offence and could be prosecuted.
•           Your e-scooter could be seized, you could end up with a fine, penalty points or even disqualification from driving. 
•           The Government is running trials for renting e-scooters. To find out if these are taking place in an area near you go to their website.
•           Beryl as an operator of hired scooters provides insurance for their riders and third party liability cover. This insurance remains valid so long as riders are following the rules.