UK trials for e-scooter rental to start this weekend

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  • Government paves way for trials of e-scooter rentals to start as lockdown restrictions eased
  • Fast-tracked trials will test devices’ safety, green credentials and ability to reduce traffic

New regulations allowing trials of rental e-scooters will come into force on Saturday, Transport Minister Rachel Maclean has announced. 

The first trials are expected to begin the following week. Local authorities and devolved administrations hosting the trials can allow or run the rental schemes in their areas. 

Whether commuting to work or riding for leisure during the warm summer months, local residents will soon be able to test the benefits of e-scooters, on roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks. 

The trials are designed to help understand whether the devices reduce motor traffic, as well as their impacts on safety for their users and others. They will be strictly prohibited on pavements, will be limited to 15.5mph and riders are recommended to wear helmets. 

Users will need a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence to take part in the trials, and must be 16 or over. To avoid a flood of poor-quality scooters onto the streets, the regulations only cover rental schemes. Individually-owned scooters will still be illegal on public roads.

What’s the future for electric scooters?

Says Transport Minister Rachel Maclean:

“As we emerge from lockdown, we have a unique opportunity in transport to build back in a greener, more sustainable way, which could lead to cleaner air and healthier communities across Great Britain.

“E-scooters may offer the potential for convenient, clean and cost-effective travel that may also help ease the burden on the transport network, provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing. The trials will allow us to test whether they do these things.” 

Adds Zachary Wang, CEO of Neuron Mobility, a shared e-scooter service in Australia and New Zealand:

“We welcome the DfT’s announcement and are excited to be one step closer to the starting the e-scooter trials. We are already in discussions with quite a few councils, as no two towns or cities are the same we look forward to partnering with them to safely introduce e-scooters in a way that best suits their individual needs.

We also welcome the Government’s recommendation that all e-scooter riders should wear helmets. We believe a helmet should be available on every e-scooter. Even if it is not mandatory to wear them all riders deserve the choice to protect themselves. For this reason we developed the first ever app-controlled Helmet Lock which secures a helmet to every e-scooter between trips, releasing it at the start of the journey.”

“COVID-19 has led to a fundamental rethink of the way we travel and e-scooters have the potential to radically improve how we get around our towns and cities. We are delighted that people in the UK will soon be able to benefit from shared e-scooters, they will allow people to continue social distancing while also providing a more efficient travel option than gas-guzzling alternatives.” 

And Roger Hassan, COO of TIER Mobility, a European provider of micro-mobility solutions adds:

“We welcome today’s announcement from the Government as it looks to get cities moving again safely and in an environmentally friendly way. We have more than 1,000 of our industry leading scooters in our UK warehouse, ready to be deployed and we will be shipping more over very soon.”

The trials, which are due to last for 12 months, will be closely monitored so the Government can assess the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space. 

The rental schemes will involve leading companies in the industry from Great Britain and across the globe working closely with local authorities to provide a plan for the controlled introduction of e-scooters in cities, towns and rural areas.

 

Chris Price
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