Transport for London and London Councils have announced Dott, Lime and Tier Mobility as the winners of its prized e-scooter pilot, confirming last month’s suspicions based on job postings by the companies.
Last year, the government legalized e-scooter rental trials by local authorities, although private e-scooter riding both on the road or pavement remains illegal.
Five boroughs – Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond and the City of London – will participate in the 12-month trial, which starts on June 7. E-scooters will also be available in Canary Wharf and can be ridden through, but not hired or left, in the wider borough of Tower Hamlets.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, told the Standard:
“This is just the beginning of the trial. We are expecting other boroughs to join. No-one is going to be riding all the way across London on one, but what I wanted was enough ‘joined-up spaces’ to make this work. It’s another tool in helping us reduce congestion and improve air quality.”
The scooters will be limited to 12.5mph in London, 3mph slower than permitted in trials in the rest of the country. Lights will be automatically illuminated during the ride, and an audible alert can be activated to warn pedestrians.
Riders will not have to wear a helmet but it is recommended. They will have to take an online safety course before their first hire. Between 60 and 150 scooters will be available in each borough. Those that don’t comply could have their scooter numbers reduced.
Safety and data sharing are core requirements for the participating scooter companies. TfL hopes to be able to use data shared by the operators to help London and the United Kingdom shape future policy on e-scooters and investigate them as a viable option for London’s sustainable recovery from the pandemic. London’s mayor has set a goal of being a zero-carbon city by 2030, so green forms of mobility that decrease reliance on ICE vehicles is essential.
“We’re doing all we can to support London’s safe and sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and it’s clear that e-scooters could act as an innovative, greener alternative to car trips,” said Helen Sharp, TfL’s e-scooter trial lead in a statement. “This new trial will provide the data and insights we need to determine the longer-term role e-scooters could play in our strategy for a greener and healthier future for London.”
TfL has outlined the following safety requirements for scooters:
- A lower maximum speed of 12.5 mph;
- Lights at the front and rear of the vehicles that are always on throughout any rental;
- Audible warning systems that can be used without adjusting the rider’s grip of the handlebar;
- “First-ride policies” requiring new users to take an e-learning safety course;
- Rules against riding on pavement.