Husband and daughter of woman killed in e-scooter collision call for law change
The husband of the first pedestrian to die after a collision with an e-scooter has said the law around their use “stinks” and has called for change.
Garry Davis’s wife, Linda, died six days after being hit by a 14-year-old boy riding an e-scooter on the pavement in Rainworth, Nottinghamshire, on June 2 last year.
Mr Davis, 73, had been married to his wife for 52 years and had known her since she was 15, describing her in court as his “spark”.
Speaking to The Times, he said: “The police should make people register them, but they don’t. You can’t buy a car or a motorbike without registration documents.
“The government (is) at fault. They set them up (the scooter rental schemes) and everyone thinks they can ride them.
“My wife was walking on the pavement when she got knocked down. What is one supposed to do?
“Not long after my wife got knocked over and killed, I was coming up a main road towards an island. Two e-scooters rode straight across the road in front of me.
“I had to break sharp and hit the kerb. If I’d hit them and knocked them off can you imagine (what the press) would have said? ‘Vengeful husband after e-scooters’. So I’ve got to be extra careful.”
The boy involved in the collision, who had been given the scooter just a few days before, was given a 12-month referral order and disqualified from driving for five years at Nottingham Youth Court on Wednesday.
It was said in court that he had been illegally riding on the pavement on the way to a skate park, and collided with Mrs Davis, 71, when she stepped out from behind a van.
The Department for Transport says it is illegal to use privately owned e-scooters on pavements, footpaths, cycle tracks and cycle lanes.
To be used on public roads and in public spaces lawfully they must conform to a number of requirements – including having a licence, insurance and tax – but the DfT states that “it is likely that they (riders) will find it very difficult to comply with all of these requirements”, meaning their use on public roads is effectively a criminal offence.
They can be used on private land, with the landowner’s permission.
They are classed as motor vehicles by the police and are subject to the same conditions, and incidents involving them are investigated in the same way.
Public hire scooters – including 1,300 available in Nottingham as part of a government trial running until 2024 – are legal on public roads and cycle lanes, provided riders are aged at least 18, hold at least a provisional driving licence and follow road traffic regulations.
Private scooters, like the one involved in the collision involving Mrs Davis, can travel in excess of 30mph, whereas public hire scooters are capped at 15.5mph.
It was said in court on Wednesday that the boy admitted at the scene that he was travelling at around 20mph.
Mrs Davis’s daughter, Rebecca Williams, said following the hearing: “This boy’s choices and actions that day took my mum’s life and changed our lives forever.
“My family and I are now living with the impact of her loss every single day. I would never wish this pain on someone else.
“Mum was a very youthful, lively, and amazing nan. She would do anything for her family and was loved so much.
“She never let her age stop her doing anything. She would always join in in silly games, whether she’d be dancing around the kitchen, throwing parties or riding toy tractors.
“Nothing will ever repair the damage that has been done but I desperately hope my mum’s case will make children and parents think about and understand the real-life devastating consequences of illegally riding an e-scooter before they buy or use one.
“What happened to my mum should never happen again. I don’t want her to be just another statistic. If I can just help make someone else stop and think before they get on an e-scooter then at least my mum’s life won’t have been taken in vain.
“I want people to make sure they are fully aware of the laws regarding the use of e-scooters and the harm they can cause if they are ridden illegally or in a dangerous or antisocial manner.
“As soon as you’re riding one you have to be responsible.”
The government intends to introduce legislation that will create a new Low-speed Zero Emission Vehicle (LZEV) category which is distinct from the cycle and motor vehicle categories, according to the DfT.
A spokesperson said: “We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Linda Davis following this tragic incident.
“Safety is at the heart of our e-scooter trials, looking to protect riders, pedestrians and other road users.
“We continue to work with operators, charities and retailers while we are considering how best to design future regulations.”