Legalisation of e-scooters part of government’s wider plan for ‘transport revolution’
Alex HernLast modified on Mon 16 Mar 2020 12.28 GMT
Electric scooters will be allowed on public roads for the first time under a Department for Transport proposal which will consult on the rules required to allow the new technology to operate safely, the government has announced.
The legalisation of e-scooters is just one proposal in a wider plan to enable a “transport revolution”, which also involves projects to trial medical deliveries to the Isle of Wight using autonomous drones, and a test of self-driving cars between Bristol and Bath.
But the scooters, which are already in widespread, if unlawful, use across the UK, will initially only be allowed in four “future transport zones”: Portsmouth and Southampton; the West of England Combined Authority (WECA); Derby and Nottingham; and the West Midlands.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said the emerging technologies were “ripping up the rule book”.
He continued: “Our groundbreaking future of transport programme marks the biggest review of transport laws in a generation and will pave the way for exciting new transport technology to be tested, cementing the UK’s position as a world-leading innovator.
“This review will ensure we understand the potential impacts of a wide range of new transport types such as e-scooters, helping to properly inform any decisions on legalisation.”
In other countries, electronic scooters have become strongly associated with rental apps, such as Lime, Bird, and the Uber subsidiary Jump. However, the legal situation has prevented them from operating e-scooters in the UK, except for Bird, which found a loophole that allowed the company to trial a service that remained exclusively on private land in London’s Olympic Park.