You need to know about the new electric scooter legislation
Electric scooters are now legal on British roads, as long as they are part of a share scheme.This is the new code you need to know about,wrote by Luke Blazejewski, Graeme Sherriff, and Nick Davies.
Electric scooters will be legalized on roads in England, Scotland and Wales on Saturday 4 July 2020 through a shareholding system.Electric scooter companies are preparing to take their vehicles to the streets of British cities as soon as possible, according to guidance issued by the government as part of a 12-month trial of such schemes.
Around 50 councils have expressed interest in hosting the scheme, with Middlesbrough being identified as a potential site for early adoption.Electric scooters will be limited to 15.5 miles per hour and banned from the pavement.Drivers must be 16 or older and have a full or temporary driving licence.
The legalization of the Share program electric scooters is an opportunity to take advantage of the travel changes that lockdown brings, but introducing them does bring challenges.These include electric bikes, the damage they can cause if left on littering pavements, and potential confusion over the fact that private scooters, though widely available for purchase, are still illegal on public land.
Travel has changed dramatically since the COVID-19 outbreak.Road traffic in Britain fell by 73% in March and public transport trips fell by 90% in April.
This is combined with an increase in walking and cycling.The highest level of cycling was 300% above normal.Electric scooter providers can take advantage of this change by providing what many consider to be cheap, fast and sustainable transportation in our cities.
Think of them as part of a growing interest in micro-transport (short-distance transport options such as bike-sharing schemes) and active travel.They provide a means of travel that can complement walking, cycling and public transport.
Trials of electric scooters in the UK over the next 12 months will provide the country with an opportunity to understand the impact of electric scooters on town travel.The recent sharp increase in infrastructure, such as pop-up bike lanes, may make it possible for trips previously made by cars or public transport to be safely made by electric scooters.
But a secure and dedicated infrastructure is needed to maximize adoption of the plan.There has been an increase in temporary pop-up walking and cycling infrastructure during the lockdown period and the government has pledged £2bn to support cycling and walking.The emergence of new micro-modes of travel, such as electric scooters, has made these Spaces even more important and means they are likely to expand further.
There are other challenges to consider.Electric scooters are often hailed as a sustainable mobility solution in cities, but they do have an impact on the environment.For example, using diesel trucks to collect, charge and redistribute scooters will generate its own CO2 emissions.Bike-sharing schemes have also been accused of generating large amounts of waste from damaged or discarded bikes.So electric scooter companies need to work closely with local authorities and planners to minimise these impacts.
Multiple accidents and even deaths have raised concerns about the safety of electric scooters.Since electric scooters became popular in France, the French government has proposed stricter rules on their use.These include speed limits, minimum age and a ban on electric scooters on pavements.The UK government will implement such rules from day one.
However, requiring riders to have a full or temporary driving license to use scooters may raise questions about who can use scooters.For example, people from ethnic minorities are less likely to have a licence.This requirement should be modified or deleted in the future as the probationary period is one year and then reviewed.
Most of the e-scooter sharing schemes use a non-docking system.This means you can leave your scooter anywhere after you ride, without having to locate it.However, this has led to the problem of scooters littering the pavement.
There is also a concern that private owners of electric scooters will not understand that share-owned cycling vehicles are still illegal on roads and pavements.In addition, as the motorcycle plan will target towns, opportunities to see its value in rural areas and small market towns may be missed.
The new legislation could soon lead to the legalization of private scooters.The future of this new form of travel is certainly bright, and experimentation will help us fully understand its value.