The Government is poised to publish a new framework for how rental e-scooters will operate in UK cities, according to reports
Rented e-scooters are set to become part of the UK’s efforts to get the nation moving again in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, according to reports.
The Department for Transport is preparing to publish documents next week detailing where and how the rented scooters could be ridden as parts of efforts to relieve pressure on public transport.
While it is currently illegal to ride e-scooters on public roads, cycle paths or pavements – meaning they can only be ridden freely on private land – e-scooters have become an increasingly common sight across the UK in the past two years.
E-scooters fall within the definition of a motor vehicle, and subsequently are subject to the same MOT, tax, licensing, construction and use requirements as other vehicles.
As the intrinsic design of e-scooters makes these rules almost impossible to comply with, they are illegal by default.
New rules for e-scooters
The new framework will confirm that the scooters will be permitted to use public roads, cycle lanes and tracks, and will be exempt from vehicle registration and licensing.
While there will be no legal requirement for riders to wear a helmet, insurance will be required. The scooters will be inhibited from travelling at speeds greater than 25.5mph, and private scooters will still be illegal.
Around 30 city councils, including Bristol, Liverpool, Cambridge and Manchester, have expressed interest in joining London as early pilot cities for trials, according to the report.
Concerns over the vehicles’ safety on public roads had represented a significant obstacle to their roll-out in the UK, despite their enormous popularity in the US and across Europe, alongside fears their availability will discourage people from walking short distances and contribute to greater levels of obesity.
Fast-tracking the fleets
“I’m extending those trips from four local authorities to every region of the country that wants them in a bid to get e-scooter rental schemes up and running in cities as fast as possible,” he said.
“Helping reduce car use on shorter journeys and taking some of the pressure off the busses at this time. These trials will help us assess the safety benefits as well as the impact on public spaces”.