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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 to take to UK roads legally for the first time

Back in January, the Government announced that it would discuss the legality of electric scooters on public roads. Since then, progress has been made with the Department of Transport unveiling plans for a trial period.

 

Starting in the next few months, four areas will be treated as test grounds before new regulations are rolled out to the rest of the country. 

 

The four areas chosen are all designated ‘Future Mobility Zones’, where new and innovative solutions to the UK’s transport problems are trialled. These include Portsmouth and Southampton; the West of England Combined Authority (WECA); Derby and Nottingham; and the West Midlands.

 

Various rules and restrictions will be assessed during the test period. Amongst them, the programme will consider the minimum age of riders, speed limits, rules for helmet wearing, and requirements for insurance and licensing. 

 

It’ll also look at minimum design standards for electric scooters, and assess the safest places for riders on the road (i.e bike lanes). 

 

Range of an Electric Scooter

 

Whilst all aspects of riding electric scooters on the road will be under consideration, it’s likely that the eventual rules will be similar to those currently in force for electric bikes. This includes a minimum age of 14 for riders and speed caps of 15.5 mph (25 kph). 

 

The programme will also benefit from insights gained from other EU countries that have already legalised electric scooters for use on public roads. Issues such as inner-city speed limits and where to park dockless electric scooters in public spaces will be informed from the experience of European cities like Paris, and will ultimately help to refine the UK’s approach to legislation. 

 

The exploration into more agile, electric vehicles by the UK government represents a commitment to more environmentally-friendly ways of travel, especially in urban environments. 

 

Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, stated: 

“Decarbonising transport is key to ending our contribution to climate change. This review could drive down transport emissions by making greener ways to travel available to more people. Future Transport Zones will also help to spur low carbon innovation by providing our best and brightest researchers with testing facilities for the clean transport technologies of the future.”

 

Alongside the trialling of electric scooters on public roads, other technology-led transport solutions will be tested out. This includes the transportation of medical supplies via drone to the Isle of Wight and an app-based booking system for public transport. 

 

FuroSystems welcomes this announcement which sees the UK move closer to legalising electric scooters for public roads up and down the country. We’re well aware of the benefits that electric scooters can bring, and we’re confident that ourFuze model is ahead of the curve both in terms of quality and sustainability. 

 

To keep up-to-date with news from the trial, and other tips on how to use and maintain your electric scooter, check our blog regularly. 

Electric Scooters vs Electric Unicycles | Which Is Better?

Personal transport vehicles are becoming more prevalent in cities around the world. Traditional bikes, electric bikes, and electric scooters are common sights, and this trend is only going to increase. One of the most unique modes of personal transport is the electric unicycle. These are far rarer sights than the other vehicles mentioned, but you’ve probably come across them – a single wheel with a flap on either side upon which the rider stands. It’s very minimalist, and riders appear to glide along, often with their hands in their pockets (which we wouldn’t recommend!). A natural comparison is made between electric unicycles and another electronically-powered device – electric scooters. Since we know a thing or two about electric scooters, we thought we’d weigh in on the debate of electric unicycles vs electric scooters.

 

Riding experience

The riding experience on an electric scooter is vastly different from an electric unicycle for one obvious reason – the handlebars. The scooter’s handlebars make riders feel more secure and in control which allows for better steering. With an electric unicycle, the rider must rely entirely on using their body weight to steer. The handlebars of an electric scooter also make for easier balancing and better stability, even over bumps and dips in the road.

 

 

Range of an Electric Scooter

 

All of this means that electric unicycles have a far steeper learning curve than scooters. Most people will be able to hop onto an electric scooter and be able to ride it immediately. The same cannot be said for unicycles. The sensation of having to take both feet off the floor to step on the vehicle without having handlebars to hold is unusual and takes time to get used to. As such, it alienates a large group of people who may struggle to balance or feel uncomfortable with such a manoeuvre. Electric scooters, on the other hand, are incredibly intuitive and inclusive in this regard.

 

Electric scooters vs electric unicycles

 

 

Safety

The design differences also affect the safety of these vehicles. Of course, there’s a risk involved with riding any vehicle so it’s important to be careful when using either. The handlebars on most electric scooters have brakes on them, making it very easy to slow down and stop in an emergency. The increased control also helps riders to avoid potholes and collisions more easily.

Electric unicycle riders must lean back in order to activate the brake, which takes some getting used to. Some riders may prefer this to traditional braking, but it can be argued that it’s less safe. There is also a considerable lack of sideways manoeuvrability with electric unicycles.

 

 

Speed

The speed of an electric scooter or unicycle depends on the particular model you buy. Some can travel at approximately 15mph (24kph), whereas some suped-up models have clocked speeds of over 50mph (80kph)! For the most part, however, both e-scooters and e-unicycles will have top speeds of approximately 20mph (32kph).

That being said, the top speed that can be achieved is almost irrelevant since it’s hard to reach such speeds consistently within a city. Roads are bumpy, pathways twist and turn, and you have to stay vigilant at all times, especially when pedestrians are nearby. But it’s nice to know that your vehicle packs a punch – even if you rarely get to try it out.

 

 

 

 

Cost

Pricing-wise, electric scooters and electric unicycles are very similar. They can cost anything from £300 right up to £2000. It all depends on the power, design, range and extra features you want from your vehicle. For example, our very own Fuze scooter has regenerative braking. This means that excess energy that’s created while braking is stored and used by the battery, effectively charging it as you ride. It’s an added feature that most electric scooters don’t have.

Overall, unicycles are great fun for some users, but electric scooters offer a more complete experience for virtually everyone. Their design makes for an intuitive (and fun) riding experience. If you’d like to join in, check out our Fuze e-scooter. With its powerful 422Wh battery (or 576WH in the Fuze Max), a top speed of 25mph (40kph) and an elegant folding design, it’s the perfect personal transport vehicle.

 

Disclaimer: Currently, electric scooters are not legal for use on pavements and public roads in the UK. However, this is likely to change soon – we hope! 

Can Electric Scooters be Dangerous?

Electric scooters are increasingly popular in European and North-American cities. Globally, the industry is expected to be worth upwards of $16.5 billion by 2027. They’re a big business, and it’s easy to see why. Electric scooters offer many benefits – they’re a quick, versatile way of getting from A to B, and have a far smaller impact on the environment than other modes of transport. Given that more people are taking to two wheels, it’s worth asking – are electric scooters dangerous? 

 

In the first half of 2019, 618 accidents were reported by police forces around the UK. The actual figure is however likely to be higher as the Metropolitan police didn’t report its statistics, and many people may not have reported less serious accidents. 

 

In terms of injuries sustained, the most accurate picture comes from the United States. Spanning a year, two medical centres in California recorded emergency department admissions from those involved in electric scooter accidents. Of the 249 patients admitted, the majority had suffered injuries due to falling off the e-scooters rather than being hit by another vehicle or person. Fractures and head trauma were the most common injuries – hardly surprising given that less than 5% of riders had been wearing a helmet. The e-scooters aren’t the problem – unsafe riding habits are!

 

Given that most accidents are caused by the rider rather than other people, it’s worth taking a look at how you can make riding your electric scooter as safe as possible. 

 

 

 

 

Start Slow

Many electric scooters pack a powerful punch. FuroSystem’s Fuze Electric Scooter is able to accelerate to over 20 mph – useful to whip around on, but potentially intimidating if you’ve never used one before. We’d recommend you take your time in getting to grips with your new scooter. Start with slow speeds and limit yourself to an area you’re familiar with.

 

Wear Safety Gear

The importance of the right safety gear cannot be overemphasised. Wearing a helmet alone reduces the risk of serious head injury by as much as 70%. If you’re hopping onto an electric scooter you might also want to consider knee pads, elbow pads, and a sturdy pair of gloves. Falling over is never fun, especially if you’re whizzing along at 20mph. Covering your joints will reduce the risk of fracture, and the gloves will protect your hands if you use them as you fall. The cliché rings true: better safe than sorry!

 

Scooter Maintenance

Keeping your scooter in good shape is another way to stay safe when out riding. Here are some key considerations to ensure you maintain it in tip-top condition.

 

Battery

The most important part of the scooter, you’ll want to make sure your battery doesn’t fail you when out and about. To minimise the risk of battery mishaps, avoid running its charge down to 0% – doing so can increase the rate of degradation of cathodes in lithium-ion batteries. Strangely enough, charging it to 100% capacity also has this effect – try to keep the charge at approximately 60%. Read our full guide to getting the most out of your battery.

Brakes

Check your brakes regularly to ensure they’re working effectively. Brake pads can wear down over time with regular use and need replacing periodically. Check them over on a weekly basis and if you hear any metal scraping sounds or feel a lack of responsiveness, step off and give them a look immediately – it’s probably time to change! 

Tyres

There are a couple of things to consider when checking over your scooter’s tyres. Firstly, monitor the air pressure – the recommended pressure per square inch (PSI) should be stated on the tyre wall. Check regularly and make sure you’re keeping at the recommended level – it’ll improve the safety of the scooter whilst ensuring your ride is as comfortable as possible.

 

Another thing to check over on your scooter’s tyres is the tread – this is the patterned inset on the exterior of the tyre which improves traction to the riding surface. The tread can wear down over time, especially if you regularly ride on hard or rough surfaces. As a general rule, if the tread is less than 2mm, it’s time to order a replacement. 

 

Where To Ride Your Scooter

A key factor in staying safe on your scooter is being aware of where you’re allowed to ride it. In the UK, it’s illegal to ride electric scooters on public pavements and streets – stick to privately-owned land. In Europe, rules vary between countries. Germany, France, Austria, and Switzerland allow electric scooters on public streets but have different rules and regulations regarding speed and power. If you want to ride your electric scooter out on public roads, we’d always recommend checking the laws of the particular country.

 

Electric scooters are becoming a more frequent sight on city streets in Europe and the States. As with any vehicle, there will always be a risk of danger when riding one. However, following these tips will help to reduce your risk of causing injury to yourself and others.

 

FuroSystem’s Fuze Electric Scooter is a great choice for beginners and experienced riders alike. Its large 10” inch pneumatic tires offer a superb riding experience whilst providing stability over uneven ground, and powerful front and rear lights ensure that you’re seen at night. Take a look at the reviews to see what our satisfied riders are saying!

 

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