E-Scooter riders prosecuted by Transport for London after Tube ban

·3-min read
E-Scooter riders prosecuted by Transport for London after Tube ban

Commuters who bring e-Scooters on to London’s transport network are now being prosecuted and fined amid fears that the electric vehicles will burst into flames.

Transport for London announced an e-Scooter and e-unicycle ban in December last year which was applied across buses, Tube trains, the Overground lines, and the tram network.

It followed two safety alerts in quick succession, when an electric unicycle left behind on a Jubilee Line train caught fire in Stanmore and a District Line train had to be evacuated at Parsons Green when an e-Scooter burst into flames.

Prosecutions of passengers caught flouting the new rule have now begun, with at least ten people already brought before a magistrate in London.

Kye Mitchell, 23, from Hackney, was stopped on April 3 at Baker Street station when he passed through the exit barriers with an e-Scooter, having travelled from Highbury and Islington station.

“At 11.52am I was standing on the unpaid side of the barriers when I observed a male passenger who I now know to be Mr Kye Mitchell enter through the barriers while in possession of an e-Scooter”, TfL officer Abdellatif Naili wrote in his witness statement.

“I heard the Customer Service Assistant inform Mr Mitchell that e-Scooters were prohibited to be taken on the network but he ignored him.

The number of pedestrians injured after being hit by e-scooters was nearly four times higher in 2021 than the previous year, new figures show (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
The number of pedestrians injured after being hit by e-scooters was nearly four times higher in 2021 than the previous year, new figures show (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

“I then approached Mr Mitchell and I identified myself and I informed him that e-Scooters were not allowed on the network and that he was now in breach of the TfL byelaws.”

Mr Naili said Mitchell “claimed he had never been told” and added that he “uses my e-Scooter on the network all the time”.

Mitchell was charged with possessing a potentially dangerous item on the Transport for London regional railway network in breach of a byelaw.

He did not enter a plea and was found guilty, and sentenced to a £220 fine with £200 costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Another passenger, 35-year-old Thomas Hemsworth from Esher in Surrey, launched a furious attack on the “disgusting” TfL prosecution after he was caught taking an e-Scooter on the tram from Mitcham to Wimbledon.

“This is basically the big guy picking on the little guy. Bully tactics,” the former British Army soldier and ex-TfL worker said.

He said he was in the first week of a new job when caught out on April 27, insisting there are a lack of signs on the tramlink warning passengers of the rules.

“To be labelled a criminal for making an honest accident such as this is disgusting,” he said.

“A simple heads up by any TfL staff would have been fine. Like I say, bully tactics. I’ve seen many people take electric scooters on the tram and unfolded bicycles so clearly your signs aren’t clear enough.”

TfL officer William Simpson told the court Hemsworth was stopped at 4pm as he got off the tram, suggesting he could face a fine of up to £1,000.

“I’ve not got £1000,” he replied. “I did not know that.”

When assessed by a magistrate, Hemsworth – who pleaded guilty – was ordered to pay a £40 fine, as well as £50 costs, and a £34 victim surcharge.

Fines of £220 have generally been imposed on offenders who do not engage with the court process.

When the ban was first announced, TfL’s chief safety officer Lilli Matson said: “We have been extremely worried by the recent incidents on our public transport services, which involved intense fires and considerable smoke and damage.

“We have worked with London Fire Brigade to determine how we should deal with these devices and, following that review, we have decided to ban them.”

All the prosecutions have been brought through the Single Justice Procedure, where a magistrate decides on cases behind closed doors based on paperwork alone and not in an open court hearing.

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