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Tag: electric scooter uk law change 2020

E-Scooters to Become Legal for Road Use in the UK

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.

Electric scooters could soon be legal in the UK

Good news for the electric scooter community – a report from The Times revealed that the UK government will be discussing the legality of electric scooters in February. The general consensus is that electric scooters will be made legal, following the examples of other majors cities like Paris, Madrid, and San Francisco. 

 

After the consultation in February, and if talks are successful, electric scooters will be trialled in major cities across the UK before being legalised nationwide. It’s most likely that electric scooters will be treated much like electric bikes are currently, with similar regulations and standards to meet. 

 

There are many factors to consider when legalising a new type of powered vehicle. Some items that will certainly be discussed during the consultations include whether helmets will be mandatory, whether there will be age restrictions for riders, and speed limitations to be put in place. As it stands, riders of electric bikes must be at least 14 years of age, and all ebikes are limited to 15.5mph. It’s likely that these rules (or similar) will apply to electric scooters once they’re legal to use on UK roads. 

 

UK legislators have the benefit of being able to learn from mistakes in other major cities that have permitted electric scooters for a number of years already. For example, Paris has introduced speed limits of 20kph (approx 12.5mph), and in particular areas, the speed limit is 5kph (approx 3mph). Paris also had a significant problem with dockless ride-sharing scooters being left of pavements, causing both safety and aesthetic concerns. As a result, they’ve made it illegal to park such scooters on pavements. The UK can get ahead of any such issues by rolling out this legislation at the same time that electric scooters themselves are made legal. 

 

Making electric scooters legal in the UK will have significant ramifications. For one, many dockless electric scooter companies that have been operating in cities across Europe and the US, such as JUMP and Lime, will now be able to access the UK market. We’re likely to notice an influx of these ride-sharing services in the UK’s largest cities. 

 

 

future of personal transport

 

 

Additionally, in the long-run, we could see improvements to the air quality within cities. If more people opt for electric-powered forms of transport instead of cars for their commutes and other short-to-medium journeys, then city-wide emissions will fall. We’re also likely to see less congestion and a reduction in noise pollution in the busiest areas of cities like London, Manchester, and Bristol

 

As it stands in the UK, electric scooters are classed as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) or Powered Transporters and are illegal to use on public roads and pavements under the Road Traffic Act 1988. Since electric scooters don’t require any direct human input to activate the motor (such as pedalling on an ebike does), they are classed just like any other electric vehicle, such as an electric motorbike or car, and therefore must be registered, taxed, and insured for use on public roads. Electric scooters are, however, legal to ride on private land with permission. 

 

 

Our CEO, Eliott Wertheimer, is obviously strongly in favour of a change in the law and believes that electric scooters may be the solution to urban transport. “The main issues for personal transport in urban environments right now are the gasses emitted by cars, buses and motorcycles, the noise generated by internal combustion engines, and the volume inefficiency of these big vehicles – they take up so much space, sometimes for a single rider. Electric scooters literally solve every single one of these points. They are the logical evolution of personal transport in cities.”

 

We’re glad to see the UK’s attitudes towards electric scooters changing. In the near future, they could play an integral role in our society’s movement towards more eco-friendly methods of transport. We think that our very own Fuze can be a front-runner in the electric scooter revolution. Be sure to check our blog regularly for the latest updates on the government’s discussion surrounding electric scooters, as well as the wider world of electric vehicles. 

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