Van drivers will lose legal protection from ‘idiots’ on UK roads from today

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Drivers are now at greater risk from "idiots" on the road ahead of a huge rise in e-scooter riders.

Motorists in England and Wales lost legal protections for personal injury claims caused by other vehicle users on Monday.

The Daily Star spoke to a legal expert who explained how the reforms will work.

It comes as more than 30 e-scooter rental schemes are already live across the UK with a legal loophole meaning they still count as vehicles.

Gerard Stilliard is a partner at Thompsons Solicitors and has campaigned against the legal reforms since 2015.

He said drivers seeking compensation for injuries caused by another motorist will no longer be entitled to legal aid for claims below £5,000.

The threshold was £1,000 previously, and the reforms are aimed at stopping "whiplash" culture.

Mr Stilliard warned van drivers that a legal loophole means e-scooters will remain classed as motor vehicles.

The personal injury expert told us: "If you're driving your van along the road and some idiot comes down the wrong way on a one way street and you see them and swerve and injure yourself then you would suffer under these current changes because you would not be able to get representation.

"For the moment the e-scooter does continue to fall within the statutory definition but because the government didn't want people to go back into their cars as soon as Covid restrictions were lifted and e-scooters are environmentally friendly, they have set up this temporary situation where e-scooters carry on being classed as motor vehicles but they are allowed to do things others would not be allowed to do.

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"They may change the laws in the future so they are more like a pedal bike than a motor vehicle."

The Government was last week urged to take urgent action over the “menace” of e-scooters.

Sales of the scooters which can reach speeds of almost 30mph have been soaring across the UK.

More than 30 Government-backed trials currently allow rented e-scooters to be driven on roads and cycle lanes.

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They include a 12-month rental scheme in London starting on Sunday which has been branded “frightening and extremely dangerous” by campaigners.

It will remain legal to buy and sell e-scooters in areas not covered by the schemes – but riding them on public roads, pavements or cycle lanes is against the law and can carry a £300 fine and six penalty points.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Safety will always be our top priority and the trials currently taking place in 31 regions across England are allowing us to better understand the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space.

“E-scooters could help ease the burden on our transport network while creating a green legacy.

"By encouraging a shift away from private cars, e-scooters can improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the UK as we build back greener.

“Incidents involving e-scooters will be covered by the rental operator’s insurance or Motor Insurers Bureau.”

  • Motoring

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