E-Scooter Trial Rolls Out June 30—U.K. Riders Need Driving Licenses, Won’t Be Allowed On Sidewalks
Legislation to allow U.K. local authorities to roll out e-scooter trials will be unveiled at the end of the month. Cities around the world have seen an explosion in use of these powered two-wheelers, most of them hired, via apps, by providers such as Lime and Voi.
However, e-scooters have not been road legal in the U.K.—the legal framework to enable cities to start e-scooter trials is expected to be announced on June 30.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the go-ahead for an accelerated trial of e-scooters in a press briefing on May 9. As well as announcing £250 million for pop-up cycleways and widened sidewalks—part of a £2 billion package to boost cycling and walking—he said he was “fast-tracking trials of e-scooters, bringing this program forward from next year to next month.”
He was doing this, he said, “in a bid to get e-scooter rental schemes up-and-running in our cities as fast as possible” to “reduce car use on shorter journeys.”
The trials will allow companies to offer rental e-scooters to adults only. Hirers will need driving licenses, either full or provisional, but won’t need to wear helmets. The e-scooters will be allowed to be ridden on roads and cycleways, but not on sidewalks or shared-use cycleway/sidewalk combos.
It’s believed more than 20 U.K. local authorities have expressed an interest in being part of the trials with the first cities to get rolling expected to Birmingham and Coventry.
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is opposed to the government’s trial of e-scooters. The charity released a statement saying that “once e-scooters hire trials go ahead, it will be taken as a green light for individuals to purchase and use their own e-scooters on public roads and elsewhere.”
“They involve no physical exertion and provide no health benefit to the user. Because e-scooter largely replace walk, cycle and public transport trips, all of which involve physical activity and have the associated health benefits, e- scooters will tend to reduce active travel.”