Under current legislation, e-scooters are illegal on the UK’s roads and pavements, meaning they can only be ridden on private land. That’s all about to change, with the Department for Transport due to set-out trials of electric scooters in the UK.
The electric scooter trials had been planned for 2021, but with an impetus to explore other modes of transport beyond the traditional public transport provision, electric scooters are on the agenda, according to the BBC.
The Department for Transport is expected to outline the conditions for the e-scooter trials to start in the UK on 30 June. This doesn’t mean that electric scooters will become legal, but that rental schemes will be allowed in trial phases under agreed conditions.
It’s expected that the ban will remain in place on privately-owned electric scooters, at least for the time being.
Rental scooter schemes are likely to be tested across a number of UK cities, with tight conditions attached. It’s expected that they’ll only be allowed on roads and cycle paths and that they will be limited to 15mph.
It’s thought that wearing a helmet will only be a recommendation, rather than mandatory.
Companies like Spin, Voi, Bird and Bolt are all expected to offer such services in the UK, having offered services in a number of European cities and in the US.
But the trial is expected to be rather rocky. Bike rental schemes in cities like London have experienced vandalism, seen complaints about dumping bikes on pavements outside major stations and causing congestion, while e-scooters have seen a number of accidents in European cities that will raise concerns.
There’s also the question of whether people will be happy to touch a communal vehicle in the current climate, where concerns about hygiene are likely to lead people to use their own vehicle or walk.
The Department for Transport is yet to make the announcement official, but according to the BBC, the trials could begin as soon as Saturday 4 July.