TfL to ban e-scooters 'after a spate of fires'

An e-scooter which caught fire in Parsons Green 

An e-scooter which caught fire in Parsons Green - Credit: TfL

Privately owned e-scooters and e-unicycles will be banned on London’s transport network from Monday, because they have been deemed a fire risk.

The ban on Transport for London's (TfL) premises and services comes as a result of safety concerns following a spate of recent fires.

A review commissioned by TfL found that "defective lithium-ion batteries which ruptured without warning" were to blame.

"This led to fires that caused toxic smoke to be released," said a spokesperson.

"TfL consider that if this were to happen again and fires occurred in an enclosed area like a Tube train or a bus, there could be significant harm to both customers and staff, as well as secondary injuries from customers trying to escape the area."

Customers in possession of such devices, including those that can be folded or carried, won't be allowed to enter any TfL premises or travel on any of its services, including on the Tube, buses, Overground, TfL Rail, Trams and DLR from December 13.

Although privately owned e-scooters and e-unicycles are widely available for purchase, it is illegal to use them in public spaces, and they are currently unregulated.

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TfL has been renting out e-scooters in a trial that began in June, and currently they the only e-scooters legally allowed on London’s roads - but they are also currently not allowed on TfL's services. 

TfL's safety chief, Lilli Matson, said: “Our primary concern is always for the safety of our customers and staff.

"We have been extremely worried by the recent incidents on our public transport services, which involved intense fires and considerable smoke and damage.

"We have worked with the London Fire Brigade to determine how we should deal with these devices and, following that review, we have decided to ban them.

"Customers who try to bring them onto our network will be refused access to our stations and premises, and not be permitted to use any of our services.”

TfL has said it will will keep the changes under review pending any future government legislation changes.