We’ve been saved from writing a long blog about this by the well-timed ABI press note from earlier today, which was picked up in this report in the Mirror and by other media outlets. The reality is that the criminal sanctions for the illegal use of privately owned e-scooters on roads and pavements could very easily see buyers getting a lot more than they bargained for when they bought the item.
Unfortunately, confusing messaging about e-scooter use is the norm. For example, in a report earlier in the month, the Independent reviewed this year’s best Black Friday e-scooter deals, noting that one model’s “pneumatic tyres can tackle even some of the worst, pothole-peppered roads” and another one’s waterproof qualities made it suitable “for zooming to the office in all manner of wet weather conditions.” Granted, the very last paragraph of the review spelled out the illegality and the criminal sanctions but given the direct answer “Yes” to the subheading “Are electric scooters legal in the UK?” you do wonder just how many readers and prospective scooter buyers bothered to read right to the end.
The estimated half a million plus privately owned e-scooter ‘fleet’ dwarfs the 26,000 or so legally available to hire. The e-scooter genie already appears far too widespread to be capable of being put back into the bottle of existing road traffic regulations [horse and stable door metaphors are also available] and the topic is crying out for a clear, intelligible and realistic new framework. We may just see some pointers towards that from the DfT by the end of the year.
Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs, BLM
The legislation passed another stage in the Assembly yesterday without amendment (very much as we had suggested in the previous blog). There was broad support for the reforms it will bring to the discount rate and universal support for getting on with this quickly (despite the six month Committee Stage, from March to October). IF no further amendments are tabled, the next stage will be taken without debate and the Speaker would signify that Final Stage debate may proceed.
Some of these next steps could be taken in the month or so before the Christmas recess so, standing back from the detail, it remains realistic to envisage a new discount rate taking effect in the second quarter of 2022.
[Yesterday’s debate is reported from page 45 of the Assembly Hansard here]
Written by Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at BLM
Yesterday the Justice Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly released its report following detailed scrutiny of the legislation designed to re-set the personal injury discount rate (PIDR). The 172 page report was signed off at the Committee’s meeting on 21 October. As would be expected given the length of the document, all of the issues and arguments are thoroughly examined, but in reality the key point to take away is that the Committee is content with the Bill as drafted and does not propose any changes to the text.
That will not, of itself, speed up the Bill’s passage through the Assembly. However the fact that the relevant scrutiny Committee has examined the topic and the text in close detail over the last seven months or so and is content with the provisions might reassure MLAs reviewing the Bill during Consideration Stage that it is fit for purpose.