New regulations allowing trials of rental e-scooters will come into force on Saturday 4 July 2020, Transport Minister Rachel Maclean has announced. The first trials are expected to begin the following week. Local authorities and devolved administrations hosting the trials can allow or run the rental schemes in their areas, as outlined in accompanying guidance for areas and rental operators.
Whether commuting to work or riding for leisure during the warm summer months, local residents will soon be able to test the benefits of e-scooters on roads, cycle lanes and tracks. The trials are designed to help understand whether the devices reduce motor traffic, as well as their impacts on safety for their users and others. They will be strictly prohibited on pavements, will be limited to 15.5mph and riders are recommended to wear helmets.
Users will need a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence to take part in the trials, and must be 16 or over. To avoid a flood of poor-quality scooters onto the streets, the regulations only cover rental schemes. Individually owned scooters will still be illegal on public roads.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “As we emerge from lockdown, we have a unique opportunity in transport to build back in a greener, more sustainable way that could lead to cleaner air and healthier communities across Great Britain. E-scooters may offer the potential for convenient, clean and cost-effective travel that may also help ease the burden on the transport network, provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing. The trials will allow us to test whether they do these things.”
The trials, which are due to last for 12 months, will be closely monitored so the government can assess the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space. The rental schemes will involve leading companies in the industry from Great Britain and across the globe working closely with local authorities to provide a plan for the controlled introduction of e-scooters in cities, towns and rural areas.