First thoughts on highway maintenance and the use of e-scooters

E-scooters have been presented as an answer to modern transport challenges and an ally in the battle to improve air-quality. However, since trials commenced on 4 July 2020 across 32 trial areas there has been a good deal of debate as to whether the benefits of e-scooter use are outweighed by their safety risks, with the title of the Transport Committee’s report last year offering a neat summary: E-scooters: pavement nuisance or transport innovation? One facet of their use and rapid adoption has had limited focus to date, that being the considerations for highway authorities in England & Wales and whether or not the demands of the technology necessitate a rethink of highways law and national guidance?

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Latest word on “use” of a vehicle: Carroll v Taylor (decided on 30 January 2020)

Following the Supreme Court cases around this time last year – Cameron v Hussain & LV and, perhaps more pertinently, UK Insurance v R&S Pilling – it might have been thought that the meaning of the short but critical word “use” in the context of road traffic accidents and insurance was settled. The point however was tested again very recently in the High Court in Carroll v Taylor & others.

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Whiplash, small claims & medical reporting – new consultation

The day before the Easter weekend the Ministry of Justice published a brief consultation paper on medical reporting options under the whiplash reform programme, including the increase in the small claims limit.

The central proposal is to expand the MedCo scheme to cover obtaining initial medical reports in all motor injury small claims, whether or not the claimant is legally represented. The short period for responses – to 17 May 2019 only – might indicate some renewed momentum within the MoJ given that April 2020 appears to remain its preferred date for implementing the whiplash programme and building the necessary IT platform.

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