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Avanti West Coast to ban e-scooters in trains and stations over safety fears

Avanti West Coast has issued a ban on e-scooters across all its trains and stations over safety fears.

The train operator said that from Tuesday 27 December the devices will be prohibited because of the risk posed by the lithium-ion batteries that are normally in e-scooters. It said these batteries can produce “a vapour of toxic gases and lead to a fire or a risk of explosion” if they become damaged or overheated.

The ban covers e-scooters and hoverboards, but mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs and e-bikes are exempt from the policy.

Dave Whitehouse, safety and security director at Avanti West Coast, said: “At Avanti West Coast the safety of our staff and customers comes first. The risks associated with e-scooters are a significant concern and are why we are banning them at our stations and onboard our trains.

“This temporary ban is to preserve the safety of our colleagues and customers until there is greater regulation on e-scooters. We ask our customers to adhere to these new rules and be kind to our staff helping to enforce them, so we can keep everyone safe.”

Despite their ubiquity across cities in England, riding a privately owned e-scooter on public roads is against the law. However, there are legal trials of rental e-scooters in dozens of towns across the UK where the device can be ridden on the road and in cycle lanes. The trials started in July 2020 and due to delays caused by Covid, have been extended to May 2024.

E-scooters were banned last year by Transport for London across the network, citing safety risks after a number of battery fires.

The announcement of Avanti West Coast’s ban came on the same day a coroner issued a warning about e-scooter safety after the death of a 14-year-old girl. Fatima Abukar was riding a privately owned e-scooter on 21 March last year on the pavement in East Ham in east London before entering the carriageway and colliding with a minibus. She fell beneath its wheels and died from “catastrophic head injuries”, the inquest heard.

The east London senior coroner Graeme Irvine said deaths from e-scooter crashes more than doubled after police changed policy to confiscate fewer of the devices.

He issued a report to the home secretary, Suella Braverman, and the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, asking them to take action to prevent future deaths.

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