EIGHTEEN electric scooter riders have been given warnings during a Dorset Police Day of Action.
Launched in response to growing safety concerns about scooters, the initiative took place earlier this month.
These warnings are now at risk of being reported for traffic violations – the seizure of their electric scooter being a possibility – if they are again stopped driving illegally.
Electric scooters, two-wheeled scooters powered by an engine, have grown in popularity and divided public opinion equally in recent months.
Although the official Bournemouth and Poole trails, although the Beryl program, have been sanctioned by the government, it is illegal to operate a private electric scooter on public land. This includes roads, sidewalks, cycle paths, beach walks, bridle paths or any terrain accessible to the public such as parks and parking lots.
Sergeant Rhys Griffiths said, “Electric scooters have become a real problem for some local residents and complaints of misuse have increased in our communities.
“We are also seeing more people riding them as a result of the government trials taking place.
“However, it is still illegal to operate a private electric scooter on any public land, including sidewalks, roads and boardwalks.
“Drivers could commit an offense under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and, if used on the roadway, the Highway Act 1835.
“In short, unless you have hired the electric scooter through a government approved test program, you are not allowed to ride it on public land.”
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The government has announced locations across the UK, including Bournemouth and Poole, where trials of electric scooter rental programs are taking place. This allows individuals to rent an electric scooter from an official program and to ride legally.
However, Dorset Police have stressed that private electric scooters are not part of this trial.
Phillip Ellis, CEO of Beryl, the company that runs the test program in Bournemouth and Poole, said: “The Beryl electric scooter program in Bournemouth and Poole provides the community with a green, convenient and enjoyable way to travel, clear alternative to travel by car.
“In government testing of electric scooters, they are classified as a type of motor vehicle and require a valid driver’s license, insurance, and for users to obey traffic laws.
“All users of our service must obey these laws and are reminded to them by safety reminders in our application as well as by our terms and conditions.
“In all cases where our vehicles are misused, Beryl reserves the right to ban those affected from our program and, if necessary, will take the matter to the police.
“We will continue to work with the board, the police and other stakeholders to support the safe and responsible use of our vehicles.”
Sgt Griffiths said officers will continue to approach electric scooters on public lands, take their contact details and explain where they can be ridden.
Police have also warned that anyone using private electric scooters on public land should stop doing so immediately or face prosecution for traffic violations and have your scooter seized.
David Sidwick, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘The use of electric scooters has increased over the past few months and I know from talking to members of the public that many people are very concerned. by them, especially when riding along sidewalks and cycle paths.
“I am very happy to see Dorset Police taking proactive steps to tell drivers exactly where and how they are allowed to use their electric scooters.
“This advice is very clear and there should be no excuse for anyone to illegally ride one of these scooters anywhere in our county.
“I would also like to echo the warning given by officers that if someone persists in using their electric scooter on public land, the device could be seized and they could be prosecuted.”
The day of action took place on Thursday July 1st.