Anyone who has recently been abroad might have noticed the rise of electric scooters, also known as e-scooters.

People have been zipping around cities at speeds in excess of 30mph.

Many are scattered around the streets of Paris, Paris, Barcelona, Malaga and Berlin, such is the ease of renting and discarding them for short journeys.

Now they have made their way to UK cities, with tragic consequences.

YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge, 35, died after being struck by a lorry while riding an electric scooter.

The Bolt Mobility scooter
Emily Hartridge
 

And the following day, on Sunday, a teenager was left fighting for his life after a second electric scooter crash in two days in London.

He was taken by air ambulance to hospital, where he remains in a critical condition.

The crash happened on Monks Orchard Road in Beckenham, south-east London, shortly before midday.

Hartridge was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash at Queen's Circus roundabout in Battersea, south-west London, shortly after 8.30am on Friday.

She had nearly 350,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel and presented on Channel 4.

The use of electric scooters is increasing

Despite being illegal on public roads, electric scooters can be purchased in the UK from the likes of Argos, Halfords and even Aldi.

Nick Lloyd, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said although Hartridge's death is the first involving an electric scooter rider in the UK, there have been a number of fatalities in other countries.

He added: "This is an issue that needs careful consideration.

"The use of electric scooters is increasing, including on the roads and pavements where they are currently illegal, and so we would urge the Government to take a look at current legislation to ensure it is fit for purpose to maximise the safety of road users, as you would expect it to with any change in transport technology."

Track star and new Bolt pitchman Usain Bolt poses for photos with a Bolt Mobility scooter

E-scooter company Bird say they have initiated a pilot in London, while Bolt - the electric bike and scooter company backed by Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt has also launched there, despite not being legal yet.

Tech Radar reports he said at the launch: "I know it's not legal here in London, but that's what we're working on.

"We're here to show you how we can help, and bring awareness, to let you know that this is a solution for all the traffic."

The likes of Voi, Lime and Wind have also popped up at cities around Europe.

But will they be made legal? Sam Shead of Forbes said on Twitter: "Will they be legalised in the UK? Well, the scooter companies are lobbying hard. It's only a matter of time, in my opinion. However, the UK desperately needs better infrastructure for them."

What are the rules on electric scooters?

Electric scooters are illegal to ride on roads and pavements in the UK.

Electric scooters are similar in design to a traditional child's scooter but are powered by an electric motor, meaning they can reach speeds in excess of 30mph.

They are increasingly being used for short journeys in a number of cities - including in many European countries and the US - but can only be used on private land in the UK.

Under the Highway Act 1835, electric scooters are banned from being ridden on pavements, while the Department for Transport (DfT) says it is an offence to use them on roads as it is "very difficult" for them to comply with motorised vehicle requirements such as insurance, tax, licensing and driver testing.

To ride an electric scooter you would need a driving licence, insurance, helmet, road tax, a registration plate and it would need to meets power and speed requirement. Without those things, you could be given a £300 fixed-penalty notice and six points.

This policy could be reversed as the DfT is carrying out a review of legislation to accommodate changes in the way people and goods move.

A DfT spokeswoman said: "Safety is at the heart of all our road laws and it is important that retailers continue to remind people at the point of sale that it is illegal to ride e-scooters on public roads."