Yesterday, the Irish Government published its Bill to reform and modernise road traffic legislation, which includes provisions to facilitate the use of e-scooters and other powered personal transporters (PPTs) and autonomous vehicles on roads in Ireland. The press release accompanying the Bill can be viewed here.
The approach to PPTs, when implemented, would move Ireland ahead of the UK in the widespread legalisation of e-scooter use. The Bill itself, the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021, is a technical and difficult read but its explanatory memorandum states that the Bill will effect “an amendment to the definition for a mechanically propelled vehicle to exclude PPTs from its scope and so permit the use of PPTs without imposing the registration, tax, licencing and insurance conditions associated with conventional motor vehicles.”
Our sense of the current debate on e-scooter use in the UK is that the government could be likely to move in a similar direction once the e-scooter trials end next year. Following the approach in Ireland and amending the definition of motor vehicle in the Road Traffic Act 1988 would be an obvious way of achieving that.
Written by Alistair Kinley at BLM (email@example.com)
Recent news points to useful data relating to e-scooters becoming available over the next few months.
First is the statement last week from DfT Roads Minister Rachel MacLean that “We intend to publish data on e-scooters and other vehicle types which can be reliably identified from the free text field [in the STATS19 accident database used by police forces] alongside the annual Reported Road Casualties Great Britain statistics publication in September 2021. In the future, the STATS19 data collection system will be amended so that e-scooters (and similar) can be identified as a vehicle type”. Second is Ms MacLean’s confirmation just yesterday that in respect of the ongoing e-scooter trials, “An interim report summarizing findings from the data collected so far will be published in autumn 2021, with a final report due in spring 2022.”
We’ll be looking out for that interim report and will of course post our analysis of the DfT’s interim findings on this blog just as soon as we can after publication.
Written by Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at BLM
By Scottish Ministerial order, Qualified One-way Costs Shifting (QOCS) is to apply to Scottish personal injury claims – including disease claims and fatality claims – litigated from 30 June 2021. To recap, QOCS is a departure from the usual ‘loser pays’ approach to legal costs and expenses. The guiding principles of QOCS are (i) promoting access to justice in these types of case by generally protecting losing pursuers (hence ‘one way’) from having to meet successful defenders’ costs and (ii) at the same time enabling the removal of that protection in limited specific circumstances (hence ‘qualified’).