An e-scooter rider has appeared in court after he was arrested and the item was seized by officers in Eastbourne.
Carl Bond was seen acting suspiciously in Seaside Road as he rode on the powered vehicle while on his mobile phone.
When approached, the 31-year-old, of Saxby Close, Eastbourne, remained on the electric scooter, and when searched he was found in possession of cannabis.
On Wednesday, October 27, he appeared at Hastings Magistrates’ Court, where he admitted driving while disqualified, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, driving without valid insurance, and possession of cannabis on September 6.
Bond was previously disqualified from driving after a conviction in 2015 for dangerous driving, and will next appear for sentencing on December 15.
Following the case, Sussex Police is issuing renewed advice to electric scooter riders that they too face arrest, prosecution, and having their item seized if they are seen using it in public in Sussex.
There has been increasing public concern about road safety, with frequent reports of e-scooters riding on pavements and crime reports linked to e-scooters.
Chief Inspector Michael Hodder said: “This case is a reminder that owners of e-scooters can face being arrested by our officers if they are seen riding in public places.
“Riders are subject to the same laws a motorist would need to drive lawfully on the road, including the requirement to have a valid licence, insurance, registration plates and vehicle licensing, and to have the correct registration.
“E-scooters are illegal because there are currently no legal ways to register, insure or tax them.
“Section 59 of the Police Reform Act allows police to give road users a warning if they are reported to have used their vehicle in a manner which causes alarm, distress or annoyance.
“Meanwhile Section 165 of the Road Traffic Act gives police the power to seize vehicles. So please make sure you keep and use your e-scooter on private land, with the owner’s permission, to ensure this does not happen to you.
“We have continued to see the repeated unlawful use of e-scooters. While education and advice have been the preferred options for our officers when speaking to the public, we are keen to draw a line.
“There have been plenty of warnings, we will now be looking to seize electric scooters and prosecute riders.
“E-scooters are becoming more widely available to purchase, and although it is illegal to ride a privately purchased e-scooter in public, they are not illegal to purchase. Many people may be considering buying one as a gift for Christmas.
“We want to inform people and encourage members of the public to act responsibly, follow guidance, and keep within the law.”
E-scooter riders are being warned to expect further enforcement this month, with officers carrying out proactive patrols as part of planned days of action on the issue.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Whilst I am a big supporter of more environmentally friendly transport solutions, we need to make it clear that e-scooters cannot legally be used in public spaces in Sussex.
“I have heard from many residents, including elderly people, who have been menaced and injured by irresponsible e-scooter riders.
“From police experience it seems that people who are prepared to break the law with no insurance or a valid licence are using e-scooters in drug dealing and other criminal activity which makes them a visible target for officers.
“Be warned – your e-scooter can be seized and you can be fined or may injure yourself or someone else so don’t put them on your Christmas wish list.”
Across the country there are ‘Future Transport’ trials taking place, with the aim of gaining further insight into the environmental, health, and safety benefits of these types of vehicles.
Currently there are no areas in Sussex taking part in these trials and e-scooters remain illegal to use on public roads.
Sussex Police also seeks to highlight the road safety risks of using e-scooters. For example last month our officers appealed for witnesses after a cyclist riding in a cycle lane in Lewes Road, Brighton, was seriously injured by an electric scooter rider going the wrong way.
Earlier in the summer a police officer sustained serious injuries to his hand after an e-scooter rider failed to stop when directed to do so.
The officer had been conducting a routine traffic stop when the rider collided with him. An 18 year-old man is due in court later this month (November 16) charged with causing grievous bodily harm, failing to stop when directed to do so by police, driving a motor vehicle otherwise than in accordance with a licence, and using a motor vehicle without third party insurance.
Chief Inspector Hodder said: “Safety is very important too, and we will take action against anyone breaking the law. This could mean seizing the e-scooter and it could result in prosecution for using a motor vehicle without insurance or the appropriate licence.
“Our main aim is to keep people safe and reduce harm and injury on our roads.”
Electric scooter riders may also be taking a risk with their own safety. Department for Transport figures showed there were 484 casualties in collisions involving e-scooters last year, of which 384 were e-scooter users themselves.
Meanwhile here in Sussex 17 people were injured in collisions involving e-scooters last year. More recently a 54-year-old man tragically died from his injuries after he collided into a fence near Falmer railway station in June this year.
What happens if I am stopped by Sussex Police?
The scooter may be seized and the officer may penalise you further, depending on the seriousness of the offence. If caught riding an e-scooter, fines you may receive can include:
- A £300 fine and six penalty points for not having valid insurance.
- A £100 fine and three to six penalty points on your licence for driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
- Other offences which may result in penalties include riding on the footpath, using a mobile phone, riding through red lights and drink driving offences.
For the full legal advice surrounding the use of electric scooters, please see our online page here.