A COUNCILLOR has asked for more to be done to crack down on the illegal use of electric scooters.

They are a “real risk to life and limb”, Cllr James Walsh told a meeting of Sussex Police and Crime Panel.

He told police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne: “I’ve nearly been knocked down several times – I’ve seen other people knocked down.

“I don’t think we’ve had a fatality in Sussex but there have certainly been injuries and I just want to know what if any policies we have in that area.”

While it is not illegal to buy or sell an e-scooter, the only ones that can be used on public roads are those rented as part of government-backed trials.

If you own an e-scooter, you can only use it on private land and not on public roads, cycle lanes or pavements.

Mrs Bourne said that as of June, 15 scooters had been seized by police this financial year.

She said three people had been prosecuted for illegal use of the scooters in the past year – one for dangerous driving after an elderly woman was injured, and two for driving without insurance.

The Argus: James Walsh is chair of Arun District Council's leisure, tourism and infrastructure working groupJames Walsh is chair of Arun District Council's leisure, tourism and infrastructure working group

She said police were told to stop anyone they saw using one of the scooters and “explain to them that it is illegal”.

She added: “Obviously if the individual then continues, I would expect a more robust approach. In the initial it’s about education.

“My issue with these is with the sale, the industry that are selling these. There’s clearly a big market for them and they’re OK on private land but not on public highways.”

West Sussex county councillor Walsh said: “Where I live, I haven’t seen visible street policing for years and yet the use of the electronic scooters goes on unabated.

“Therefore ‘if seen’ is the key to it – and I don’t think there’s any opportunity for them to be seen.

“Certainly there is no visible or folklore evidence of any interventions on electronic scooters in the part of Sussex where I live. It clearly is a growing problem and if nothing is done about it it’s going to get worse.”

Police are targeting hot spots – with work in Crawley described as “pretty successful” – and Mrs Bourne encouraged people to report illegal use of the scooters.

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