Private e-scooters will be banned on TfL network (Picture: Alessio Cesario)

Privately-owned e-scooters banned from London transport network over fire concerns

Privately owned e-scooters will be banned from London public transport, following cases of defective battery fires. 

Transport for London (TfL) announced that private-use e-scooters and e-unicycles will be banned from Monday, 13th December, with customers breaking the rules will face a £1,000 fine. 

According to TfL, the decision has been taken following cases of e-scooter batteries catching fire on its services and premises, while the ban has also been backed by the fire service. 

TfL’s chief safety, health and environment officer, Lilli Matson, said: “Our primary concern is always for the safety of our customers and staff. We have been extremely worried by the recent incident 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.” 

Uniformed TfL officers will be deployed to help enforce the new rules, with any customers trying to bring private-use scooters onto the network being refused access. 

The ban applies to all private e-scooters and e-unicycles, including those than can be folded or carried.

According to TfL, concerns revolve around defective lithium-ion batteries used to power such scooters, following cases where these batteries ruptured without warning. 

The authority said that if a similar incident was to occur in enclosed areas like a tube train or a bus, there could be significant harm to customers and staff, as well as secondary injuries as customers try to flee the area. 

Privately used e-scooters are still illegal on public roads in the UK, but they are widely available to purchase and are increasingly popular in London and other cities.

The Government is currently considering its position on the use of private e-scooters, with a number of shared scooter trial schemes currently running across the country. 

TfL said it plans to keep the ban under review, pending any future legislation changes by the Government, particularly around safety standards for e-scooters. 

This ban does not include mobility, foldable e-bikes or regular e-bikes, which TfL said are “generally subject to better manufacturing standards.”

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London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Paul Jennings, said: “We have growing concerns about the safety of e-scooters due to the amount of fires we are seeing involving them, so we fully support TfL’s ban of private e-scooters on public transport.

“Fires are dangerous and terrifying wherever they happen, but a fire on the transport network has the potential to become very serious very quickly and involve hundreds of people, particularly on trains where evacuation may be challenging, so anything that can be done to mitigate that risk is a positive step.” 

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