Coroner issues electric scooter safety warning after 14-year-old girl dies

A coroner has issued an electric scooter safety warning following the death of a 14-year-old girl.

East London Chief Coroner Graeme Irvine said the number of deaths from electric scooter crashes had more than doubled after police changed policy to confiscate fewer devices.

He delivered a report to Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, calling on them to take “action” to prevent future deaths.

An inquest into the death of 14-year-old Fatima Abukar on March 21 last year heard she was riding a private electric scooter on the pavement in Green Street, East Ham before entering the carriageway.

She traveled alongside a minibus and then rammed it, falling under its wheels.

She died of “catastrophic head injuries”, Mr Irvine wrote.

The coroner noted that she was not wearing “any safety equipment”.

In his report, Mr Irvine wrote: ‘Since 2019 there have been eight recorded deaths involving electric scooters in London and 31 across the country.

“At the time of her death, Ms Abukar was driving a private e-scooter on a public road.

“Despite the ubiquity of such devices on the streets of London, driving them on public roads is illegal.

“While approximately 4,000 illegally used scooters were seized by the Metropolitan Police Service in 2021, only 1,100 were confiscated in 2022.

“The reduction is attributable to a policy change introduced in November 2021.

“An inverse correlation exists between the rate of enforcement and the rate of deaths caused by electric scooters.”

He added that the number of deaths in the first half of 2022 was “more than double” the figure for the same period last year.

Private electric scooters are banned in the UK but are often used on public roads and pavements.

Irvine noted that not all e-scooter manufacturers and retailers provide consumers with written warnings about illegal use.

“Where such warnings are present, they are often not visible,” he added.

The coroner has sent his report to major retailers.

Legal trials for rental electric scooters on the roads of dozens of towns across England have been extended until May 2024.

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