Tom, 82, confesses: ‘I travel around York illegally on an e-scooter’

Tom on his e-scooter in York. Photographs: David Dunning
26 Sep 2020 @ 5.45 pm
| News

This 82-year-old man knows full well his use of a battery-powered two-wheel scooter is illegal.

Tom knows it could mean points on his licence if he was prosecuted.

But he carries on riding it in York. Why? Because it helps him stay active without having to walk everywhere.

He has spoken to YorkMix about why he feels the private hire trials don’t go far enough, and why he wants to see this mode of transport made fully legal.

We met him on Hob Moor and asked why, considering it’s illegal to use it in public, he bought an e-scooter in the first place.

Tom – not his real name – said he was feeling isolated at the end of the lockdown and wanted to get out in the fresh air. He suffers from arthritis in his knee and after less than half a mile he is in agony.



He thought about getting a mobility scooter that he could sit on as they are perfectly legal but somehow didn’t really feel right.

Even though he is 82 Tom stills feel young and active, and a scooter was much more his style.

Stopped by police

Tom goes on his way

Tom knows that he faces penalties if he is stopped by police.

So far only one traffic officer has questioned him. This was in Exhibition Square and the officer shouted at him from a car telling him to get off and walk.

Others have just ignored him as he glided past at around 8mph.

“When I took to the road I thought common sense would prevail,” he told us.

“By and large it has. I am not more of a threat to anyone that if I was on an electric bike or driving a mobility scooter.

“In fact one could fall asleep the wheel of one of those and bang into someone. If that happened on an e-scooter I would have fallen off before I did any harm.”

He thinks that the e-scooter hire trial coming to York is a step forward but is worried that the price is off-putting.

His argument is that there are already laws to cover the misuse of electric bikes so these can be extended to people who don’t use e-scooters carefully.

“I want parliament to legalise my scooter as soon as possible so I can enjoy fresh air and freedom without fear of a brush with the law.”