Police crackdown on e-scooter riders in Kettering town centre

Suspensions and warnings handed out as officers tackle confusion over who can ride what and where

Monday, 16th August 2021, 9:29 am
Updated Monday, 16th August 2021, 9:32 am

Police put the skids under a number of e-scooter riders during a crackdown in Kettering over the weekend.

Those riding inconsiderately or illegally were put under the spotlight with 27 interactions ending up as suspensions or warnings.

Education was the key as private and rented scooters were targeted with confusion continuing over who can ride what and where.

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Rented e-scooters arrived in North Northamptonshire earlier this year

Under-17s riding rented Voi machines using a parent's account is one of the ongoing concerns.

A spokesman for the Kettering neighbourhood team warned: "Making an account for your child to ride the Voi scooters under your name is illegal and you are committing offences.

"Is it really worth a trip to court to get points on your own licence that may effect your driving licence, job etc?"

Voi e-scooters landed in Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough, Rushden and Higham Ferrers earlier this year following a trial launched in Northampton during September 2020 as an eco-friendly alternative mode of transport around towns.

But that led to an increase in private electric scooters on the roads and footpaths - even though they remain illegal anywhere except private land without proper insurance.

Electric scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles and subject to all the usual legal requirements such as insurance and licensing.

The government introduced exemptions last year allowing some e-scooters to be used as part of rental schemes, similar to those in Northamptonshire - which have recently been extended by local authorities.

But offences relating to the standard of driving, using a mobile phone while riding or speeding also apply and police have the power to seize electric scooters if offences have been committed.

Residents have also complained about "near-misses" with rented scooters being ridden illegally on footpaths.

Supt Adam Ward, of the force’s operations team, said: “It is important to remember that although the government has introduced some exemptions, the legislation hasn’t changed and an electric scooter is still classified as a motor vehicle and, as such, the rider is subject to the same requirements as driving a car, and having a driving licence and insurance.

“Hired scooters are permitted on the roads, whereas privately-owned scooters are not.

"However, it is still illegal for all electric scooters to be ridden on pavements, in parks or in other public areas.

“Until the law is changed, individuals could face a fine and penalty points or even lose their licence. The scooter could also be impounded if it is used in a public place.

“Likewise, anyone caught riding a rented electric scooter dangerously or while under the influence of drink or drugs could be convicted of offences which might lead to a prison sentence.”