As our cities set out on the road to coronavirus recovery, we’re seeing a growing acceptance of electric scooters. In the UK, the public has become more supportive of e-scooters, and the government is revising road traffic regulations so councils can set up trials in their cities.
Here’s the latest on the UK government’s e-scooter plan, which should help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution low and prevent overcrowding on public transport. This is great news for e-scooter riders across the country. Let’s take a look at the progress that has been made recently.
E-Scooter Trials Get the Green Light
The UK is catching up with several European governments that have embraced e-scooters as a means of reducing car usage. The COVID-19 lockdowns have made the benefits of micro-mobility abundantly clear, as Hamish Stewart, the organiser of London Car Free Day points out:
“During the crisis, we have seen lots of people realising that they don’t need a car to make short trips and the decision to accelerate e-scooter trials will provide another non-polluting way for people to travel safely and take the pressure off public transport.”
To determine the impact that more widespread use of electric scooters will have on road traffic, air quality, and pedestrian safety, 30 city councils are planning pilot projects. The potential reduction in congestion and pollution is high as 60% of car journeys in the UK cover a distance of merely one to five kilometres. The results of coronavirus-related restrictions support this assumption, as we’ve seen a massive decrease in vehicular traffic and air pollution has dropped by up to 60% in parts of the country.
Based on a government consultation, the regulatory framework of the pilot programmes states that:
- E-scooter riders can use public roads, cycle lanes, and tracks
- E-scooters are exempt from vehicle registration
- Riders must be at least 16 years old and hold a driver’s license
- Riders require insurance
- Riders are not legally required to wear helmets
- Top speed: 12.5 mph (20 km/h)
- Maximum e-scooter weight: 35 kg
Stay on the Road
The same consultation emphasizes that electric scooter use in the UK should only take place on roads (with the obvious exception of motorways) and in cycle lanes. The reasoning behind this is that e-scooters and bicycles travel at similar speeds.
It goes without saying that e-scooters are not permitted on pavements. This is a serious concern among pedestrians, especially in European cities that are coming to grips with an overabundance of rented electric scooters. Only responsible for riding and parking will result in successful trials and nationwide adoption of these eco-friendly vehicles.
The Benefits of E-Scooter Ownership
While the pilot projects in the UK are for rented e-scooters, there are numerous advantages that come with owning an electric scooter. Currently, one of the most important benefits is that you’re eliminating the risk of coronavirus infection. Shared e-scooter companies are doing their best to sanitize their fleets, but they’re also advising you to wipe the handles and wash your hands before and after riding, and wear gloves – all things you don’t have to think about when you’ve got your own e-scooter.
You’ve also got an awareness of the condition of your e-scooter that you don’t get with a rental. As its only rider, you’re aware of its performance, so you know when a part needs tuning or replacing. Rentals may be sturdy, but you still have no idea how much wear and tear they’ve been through.
Additionally, ownership may be seen as more socially acceptable. Rentals are seen at best an amusement for tourists, at worst the source of an American phenomenon that’s been dubbed “scooter rage”, which has prompted city residents to throw rented e-scooters into rivers. You can easily store our Fuze anywhere, including your home or office, so you’re not contributing to the piles of rentals that are taking up pedestrian spaces.
This is Great News for Electric Scooter Riders
We at FuroSystems will be keeping an eye on the progress of the pilot projects. Hopefully, their success will bring this sustainable, environmentally friendly mode of transport into mainstream acceptance, and help keep the UK’s roads clearer while lowering pollution levels. Watch this space for the latest news about the e-scooter trial, as well as advice on electric scooter use and maintenance.