Father, 41, is slapped with £1,000 fine after borrowing his teenage son’s e-Scooter to go to a doctor’s appointment
- James Bladen, 41, said he had slept through his alarm and had to rush to doctor
- He took son Tionree’s £400 e-scooter to try and make the GP appointment
- But he was spotted by South Wales Police who confiscated it and dished out fine
A father who borrowed his son’s e-scooter to get to a doctor’s appointment has been fined £1,000 and had the gadget confiscated for illegally riding without insurance.
James Bladen, 41, said he had slept through his alarm and had to rush from his home in Pentrebane in Cardiff to get to his GP on time.
But after borrowing son Tionree’s £400 scooter he was stopped by officers from South Wales Police.
They threw the book at him and alerted him to the rules on e-scooters which state they are illegal to ride on roads or pavements in Wales.
It meant he fell foul on rules on ‘powered transporters’ which meant he was fined for having no insurance to ride the machine.
Mr Bladen said: ‘It’s an absolute joke I feel like I’m being made a scapegoat. I live on my own with my son and get £500 a month to pay all the bills and look after him and the dog.
‘I was panicking that I was going to miss my appointment and Tionree said to take the e-scooter. I had no idea they were illegal or I wouldn’t have got on it.
James Bladen, 41, from Pentrebane in Cardiff, said he was landed with an ‘extortionate’ bill
‘When the police called me over, the way they were acting I thought they mistook me for a burglar or that I’d stolen the scooter or something.
‘They said I was riding it without insurance and they took it off me.
‘I walked away from the scene a bit angry and was my son was gutted when I told him,’ he added to Wales Online.
His run-in with the law happened at the end of May with the written demand for the fine arriving a month later.
Mr Bladen said he ‘walked away from the scene a bit angry’ and son Tionree ‘was gutted’
Legalise them, says Halfords
Legalise them, says Halfords
The car and bike specialist Halfords has launched a petition to have privately owned e-scooters allowed on public roads. The retailer, which has more than 450 UK stores, sells the scooters, with prices ranging from £90 up to £990.
The petition says: ‘Join us in calling for an end to the road ban on privately owned electric scooters.’
Posters have gone up in shops urging customers to sign.
Privately owned e-scooters are banned on public roads and footpaths, but trials are taking place in more than 40 areas across the UK.
The petition adds: ‘Any new regulations should deliver safer roads and ensure that electric scooter road-users behave responsibly and with due care and attention.’
A Halfords spokesman said: ‘E-scooters are permitted on roads in many European countries and in other parts of the world. We believe e-scooters can make a significant contribution to reducing congestion and making urban travel greener.’
He is challenging the penalty through a solicitor and says the e-scooter has a top speed of just 15mph.
Mr Bladen also says the £1,056 fine is more than double the monthly amount of his universal credit payments.
He has also started learning to drive and so faces six points on his provisional driving licence.
The law on e-scooters currently forbids them from being used on public roads and pavements, unless they are part of a trial scheme looking at their use and viability.
Mr Bladen added: ‘I bought the scooter on finance for my son and it’s now been destroyed and I’m still paying it off.
‘A scooter is a scooter at the end of the day, it’s environmentally friendly and I don’t see how it’s a problem as long as you’re not going mental on it.
‘I felt really down, depressed and I couldn’t sleep.
‘There’s no way I can pay that it seems extortionate.’
It comes just days after it was reported that e-scooter casualties in London soared by more than 570 per cent in just a year – with the true increase is likely to be far higher.
Figures show the number of riders injured in collisions in the capital leapt from 27 in 2019 to 181 between January and November 2020.
The number of pedestrians hurt by e-scooters doubled over the same period, from 13 to 26, according to data released under Freedom of Information legislation.
More than 70 per cent of the public have reported seeing an e-scooter being driven illegally on a pavement, according to a survey of over 2,000 people by the charity Guide Dogs.
A spokesman said: ‘Fast-moving and silent vehicles such as e-scooters are always much more difficult for blind and partially sighted people to detect and thus it becomes very difficult for the dog’s training to be reinforced.’