London’s e-scooter trials to begin in June
London is to start trials of rental e-scooters for up to 12 months from Monday 7 June.
The move follows the Government’s announcement last year to legalise rental trials of e-scooters run by local authorities, and will see e-scooters become available for rent in a core group of London’s boroughs, Canary Wharf and the City of London, more areas expected to join the trial as it progresses.
E-scooter operators Dott, Lime and Tier have been selected by Transport for London and London Councils to take part in the trial on the back of an open and competitive procurement process – this included assessing their ability to meet strict safety requirements and high operating standards. The operators will be required to stick to stringent safety standards that exceed those set on a national level; this includes a lower maximum speed of 12.5mph, a requirement for front and rear lights to be permanently on and audible warning systems to be in place.
Speaking last year, road safety charity IAM RoadSmart said the trials are a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ to change transport infrastructure while MPs on the Transport Select Committee said e-scooters could bring a low-cost, accessible and eco-friendly alternative to cars, providing certain safety measures are taken, including eliminating pavement use.
The DfT has also confirmed it’s extending the end date for the trials to 31 March 2022.
Transport for London said the data shared by the operators will play a vital role in helping to shape London and the UK’s future policy on e-scooters, including whether they could form part of London’s sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Helen Sharp, TfL’s e-scooter trial lead, said: “We’re doing all we can to support London’s safe and sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and it’s clear that e-scooters could act as an innovative, greener alternative to car trips.
“Safety remains our number one priority and we will work closely with the e-scooter operators, London Councils and the boroughs to ensure rigorous standards are consistently met. We will also continue to work closely with all of our stakeholders, including TfL’s Independent Disability Advisory Group, to ensure that the trial meets the needs of everybody living in, working in and visiting the trial areas.”
While last summer’s regulations mean local authorities in the UK can trial rental e-scooters, the use of privately owned e-scooters on public roads remains illegal in the UK, as does riding any e-scooter, rental or private, on footways.
The Met Police has said it will continue its work engaging with e-scooter riders, and where necessary, will enforce the legislation regarding the use of privately owned e-scooters on the highway.