NEARLY a dozen people were hurt in crashes involving electric scooters in Dorset last year, new figures reveal.

Department for Transport (DfT) figures, published for the first time, show 10 casualties were recorded by Dorset Police as having been involved in accidents with the vehicles in 2020.

It is currently illegal to ride e-scooters on public roads outside of Government-backed trials, which began in certain areas last summer.

An e-scooter trial with Beryl in association with BCP Council didn't start in the region until January 2021, meaning that any casualties on public roads in 2020 involved illegally driven e-scooters.

In mid-September, it was reported that the trial period for e-scooters in Bournemouth and Poole had been extended until next year March 2022.

This news came soon after a four-year-old boy was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured collarbone following a collision with an e-scooter on the Bournemouth seafront.

Elsewhere, Hampshire reported 17 e-scooter related casualties, the joint second highest for a county in Britain.

Across Britain, police forces recorded 484 casualties resulting from 460 e-scooter incidents last year.

The DfT said the figures are likely to relate largely to private use.

One person – an e-scooter rider – was killed and 128 people were seriously injured following crashes across Britain last year.

The DfT also warned many non-fatal casualties may have gone unrecorded, because there is no obligation to report such incidents to the police.

A BCP Council spokesperson said: “It is illegal for private e-scooters to ride on roads, pavements, or in any public spaces. We continue to work with Dorset Police to reinforce this message to users and retailers.

“The Bournemouth and Poole rental scheme was launched in Jan 2021 and conforms strictly to the safeguards put in place by the Department for Transport. Unlike private e-scooters, the Beryl vehicles have a restricted motor size and regulated top speed of 12.5mph.

“In addition, all users must be over 16 and have a valid UK driving licence which is verified before an e-scooter hire can take place, with insurance also provided by the operator. Free on-road training is also available using our “Bikeability” cycling instructors.

“The BCP Council area trial, run in conjunction with Beryl, is proving very popular. It has seen 44,700 individual riders take 153,000 e-scooter journeys and cover nearly 400,000 miles (643,000kms).

“One of the aims of the trial is to see if e-scooters will help reduce private car usage. End-of-ride survey results show that 20 per cent of riders said their journey would otherwise have been taken in a private car. This means that over 30,000 car journeys have so far been saved during the trial, helping to reduce congestion on our roads.”

David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils, said: “Councils and operators are working together in these trial areas to ensure that routes are safe for both users and other members of the public and thereby reduce the chance of injuries.”

A DfT spokesman added: “Safety will always be our top priority and the trials currently taking place in 31 regions across England are allowing us to better understand the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space.

“Evidence from the trials will allow government to consider how best to design future regulations and avoid the issues that other countries have faced.”