June 11th, 2020.

A report on the BBC News website highlights the government’s plans to trial e-scooter rental schemes by the end of June.

With people told to avoid public transport, the government appears to be promoting the use of these popular ‘toys’ that are freely available to buy in the UK, costing anywhere from £100 to £1000.

Currently, e-scooters cannot be ridden on a UK public road, cycle lane or pavement as, without visible rear red lights, number plates or signalling ability, they do not conform to the legal requirements of Personal Light Vehicles (PLEVs).

The Department for Transport wants e-scooters rental schemes - similar to those seen in European cities - tried out across England, Wales and Scotland. Riders wouldn't need to take out their own insurance to hire an e-scooter, but they would need a driving licence or at least provisional one.

The hired vehicles could be used - legally - within set geographical boundaries. However, it would still be illegal to use a privately-owned e-scooter on a public road, even in a trial area.

The government says it will monitor safety and keep the year-long scheme - part of a £2 billion plan to invest in greener travel - under review. And, according to the BBC News report, there are strong advocates for the introduction of electric scooters in the UK, with the likes of The London Cycle Campaign (LCC) saying; "The arrival of e-scooters offers a cleaner, low carbon alternative to cars and buses for those who can't or don't want to cycle. LCC is calling for e-scooters to be legalised and allowed to use cycle tracks rather than be used on pavements."

The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), disappointed that Powered-Two-Wheelers (PTWs) continue to be ignored by the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, commented; “The MCIA’s position is that there is a place for e-scooters in the transport mix, but only if appropriately regulated. We have produced a discussion document as part of the government’s consultation on micro mobility which explores areas for consideration. We also highlight that a regulated, legal, small urban mobility device already exists in the form of the moped.

“We were particularly disappointed that in Grant Shapps’ recent speech about alternatives to public transport, he ignored PTWs, but highlighted still-illegal e-scooters and has instigated local trials, seemingly by-passing the on-going consultation. The MCIA is in discussion with Mr Shapps and his officials about this.

“It is worth highlighting that the proposed trials apply only to rental e-scooters, not privately owned vehicles and that participants must have, as a minimum, a provisional driving licence. The e-scooters must also be insured, which for the trials is arranged by the rental companies.”

CLICK HERE for the full BBC News story.

Image: londonroadsafetycouncil.org.uk
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