Under the new rules, people will be allowed to rent electric scooters on British public roads legally for the first time from Saturday, July 4. Users will be allowed to ride their scooter along roads, cycle tracks and bike lanes – but not motorways and pavements. The Government will not force users to undergo a training course, but it does recommend users do so. Scooters will be limited to a top speed of 15.5mph, and helmets are recommended, but not mandatory for scooter users.
How can you hire an electric scooter near you?
Under the new rules, people will be allowed to rent electric scooters and use them on public roads for the first time.
Electric scooters will be trialled to assess their effectivity, and whether they can be used as a viable alternative to public transport.
Electric scooter trials were originally planned to be limited to four “future transport zones”, but it has since been significantly widened.
The scooters could be used in Portsmouth and Southampton, Derby and Nottingham, the West Midlands and the West of England Combined Authority – which included Bristol, Bath and the Northern Arc.
The trials have now been broadened to include all local areas across the UK.
It remains, however, up to local authorities to start their own trials, so if you want to get involved, contact your local council to see what their plans are.
Authorities that choose to take part in the trials will receive support from the Department of Transport in terms of what controls need to be put in place, such as the number of vehicles allowed in the area.
Companies like Bird, Lime, Spin, Wind, Voi, Ginger and Dott are all expected to offer rental scooter services as soon as possible.
Currently, owners of electric scooters can only use them on private land and with the permission of the landowner,
Rachel Maclean, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, said the Government was taking the opportunity to rebuild transport in a more environmentally friendly way.
Ms Maclean said: “As we emerge from lockdown, we have a unique opportunity in transport to build back in a greener, more sustainable way that 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.”
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Director of UK policy and Government affairs at US scooter rental company Lime, Alan Clarke, welcomed the move to introduce scooters on a large scale.
Mr Clarke said: “Today’s announcement that the UK is embracing micro mobility, with trials of e-scooters now able to begin, presents a real opportunity for change.
“E-scooters have been commonplace on roads and cities across Europe for some time, and Lime users around the world have already taken more than 150million ride, saving more than 12,000 tonnes of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), whilst helping to reduce congestion and air pollution.
“Over the coming days, weeks and months as trials start, we’re looking forward to building healthier, greener and safer cities across the UK.”
E-scooters are currently considered illegal in the UK, except for when they are used on private land.
While the use of private electric scooters will remain banned, the Government said the trials would provide an opportunity to “create the evidence necessary to guide final decisions about whether and – if so – how to fully legalise e-scooters”.
Campaigners have described the road ban as “outdated” and claim the vehicles offer an environmentally friendly alternative to cars.
YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge became the first person to be killed while using an electric scooter when she was hit by a lorry in Battersea, south London, in July last year.