REVEALING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE POLICING OF E-SCOOTERS IN LONDON
Written by Ed Wiles, Scootered Founder
After discovering that only the London police forces, and especially the Metropolitan Police, had taken any real action on e-scooter riders in 2019, I followed up with the Met in October 2020 to find out how many e-scooters they had been confiscating in 2020. The responded fairly promptly and the disclosure was both surprising and interesting, as well as a little confusing.
The results are a little confusing (even taking the Covid lockdown into consideration). The Metropolitan Police seized 55 e-scooters in the first six months of 2020, with two-thirds (37) of those being confiscated in February alone. That averages out as two per week. However, the numbers crept up in July (17) and August (15) before mushrooming in September (71). I am waiting to hear from the Met why the number was relatively high in September but can only assume there was a (secret) crackdown on the e-scooters despite other cities trialling them and the Government announcing their intention to legalise them. Read more about the law on e-scooters.
As with previous spikes, I expect September to be a one-off but need October's results for clarity. As the Met have previously stated that they will only confiscate an e-scooter when there is aggravating circumstances, I have to assume that the increase in confiscations tallies with an increase in unsociable behaviour (eg riding on pavements or jumping red lights). As the popularity of e-scooters continues to increase, it is reasonable to assume that so will the number of riders using them in ways that would be illegal if they were bicycles.
As such, the best way to avoid having your e-scooter confiscated still seems to be to avoid doing anything "aggravating": ie do not ride them in a way that would be illegal if you were riding a bike, such as riding on the pavement.
Confiscations By Metropolitan Police Per Month In 2020
| Month (2020)
Recovering Your Electric Scooter
Having your e-scooter "seized" sounds catastrophic, but what the London police forces are failing to mention in their publicity is that you can simply retrieve your e-scooter - or "motor vehicle" - from one of their vehicle recovery units (in Charlton or Perivale). It costs £150 plus £10 for every day it is there. It is thus probably worth your while retrieving it.