As of April 2020, the UK government has come to the conclusion that they should explore the possibility of e-scooters to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. E-scooter enthusiasts were excited with the official launch of The Transport Committee’s inquiry which would determine the safety and lawful ramifications that electric scooters might have on the UK transport system.
“Electric scooters could be a useful lever to reduce our transport carbon footprint but their environmental credentials have yet to be proven. These ‘powered transporters’ could reduce the amount of time we spend in cars and reduce congestion but we don’t want to score an own goal by encouraging the use of micro-mobility vehicles instead of walking and cycling.
“Road safety is a significant consideration. We must consider the dangers to other road users and especially pedestrians with visual impairments or those who use mobility aids and rely on clear pavements. Safety must also be a factor for riders of e-scooters.
“We’d like to hear from manufacturers about the design and build of e-scooters. The public may have views on whether there should be specific vehicle or user requirements. Are e-scooters something good and positive which will take traffic off the road – one part of what the Department for Transport describes as a ‘transport revolution’? Let’s see if those who respond to our inquiry agree.”
The questions raised by the government are legitimate. However, retailers including us here at Scootz, have been advocating for this cause through our blog posts and news section. The government along with retailers and manufacturers must co-operate to share information on the reliability and safety of their own products. The parties involved should work together to help accelerate the legalisation of electric scooters in the UK, since it would be beneficial for all.
To ensure proper implementation of e-scooter trials and further legalisation of e-scooters in the UK, the following points were brought up to be investigated by the committee:
- Whether the legislation for e-scooters is up to date and appropriate;
- To what extent e-scooters have positive benefits, for instance relating to congestion and promoting more sustainable forms of transport;
- Where in the urban environment e-scooters could be used (e.g. road, pavement, cycle lanes), and how this could impact on other road users and pedestrians, including people who have visual impairments or use mobility aids;
- Whether there should be advice or compulsory requirements to use specific safety equipment when using an e-scooter;
- Whether there should be safety and environmental regulation for the build of e-scooters, and what this might entail; and
- The experience of other countries where e-scooters are legal on the roads.
The UK government has now moved past the inquiry and thoroughly investigated the aspects they wanted to consider for legal electric scooter trials. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, they have accelerated the e-scooter trials to begin on July 2020 rather than in 2021. Privately owned e-scooters are still banned on public roads and pavements. There is a long way to go for the complete legalisation of electric scooters, however a step in the right direction has been made.