Thank you to those who contacted me about electric scooters.
I know the Government has recognised the potential of electric scooters for some time. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, and as part of the most ambitious regulatory review of transport laws in a generation, the Department for Transport (DfT) had begun looking into the true benefits and costs of electric scooters. Then, as social distancing on public transport became a necessity, ministers accelerated and expanded planned trials of rental electric scooters in select areas of the country.
Trials involve electric scooter companies partnering with local authorities to provide electric scooters for hire. People over 16 years of age with a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence can participate in the trials and access and pay for electric scooter use through an app, with prices usually determined by the length or duration of the journey. Throughout the trials, electric scooters are prohibited on pavements and are limited to 15.5 mph, although this may be lower in some areas.
There is a full list of Government guidelines here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-scooter-trials-guidance-for-users
The trials will provide evidence on the true impact of electric scooters, for example: how safe they are; how they are used; whether potential benefits can be realised; and on how to manage potential downsides. It is important to note that, in the 32 e-scooter trials ongoing across the country, only selected rental electric scooters are being allowed to participate so that robust and meaningful data can be gathered and a full set of findings can be included.
The original deadline for the end of the trials was 30 November 2021, but trials were extended to take into account the slower start to trials as a result of the pandemic. Trials will run until 30 November 2022 and a full set of findings will be included in a final report.
It remains the case that privately owned electric scooters are illegal to use on roads, pavements and cycle lanes, and those considering buying these devices should be aware of this. Greater use of electric scooters could potentially bring enormous value to our national public transport framework. However, I understand that safety remains a concern for many, and data from the trials will need to be carefully scrutinised before any decision is made on whether they should be legalised.
Please be assured that I will continue to monitor this issue closely.