The Government is contemplating allowing electric scooters on UK roads, road safety minister Jesse Norman has revealed.
Under current UK law, it is illegal to use a powered transporter – such as an electric scooter – on a public road or other prohibited space, including pavements and cycle lanes.
Reported in the Guardian, Jesse Norman said he would look to find a way of allowing e-scooters and similar vehicles on the road – as part of a report into ‘urban mobility’ issues.
The report, which is expected to be launched in the coming weeks, will also address issues around self-driving cars, car and bike sharing, drones and internet-connected vehicles.
Jesse Norman told the Observer: “E-scooters, e-bikes, e-mopeds, e-skateboards – we’re seeing these all over the streets already and we’re thinking about those modes of transport.
“We’re going to look quite closely at what the wider environment is for a lot of these different vehicles. How these things might be either permitted or licenced or regulated to go on to the road, or other forms of land.”
Motorised scooters have been around in various forms since the petrol-powered Go-Ped was invented in the 1980s.
Calls to change the law are coming from scooter-share companies, who operate in a host of European cities including Paris, Barcelona, Antwerp, Brussels, Vienna, Zurich and Copenhagen.
One such company, Bird, says a UK pilot would help ‘demonstrate viability’.
Harry Porter, from Bird’s communications team, told the Observer: “We’d like to be able to pilot the service on cycle lanes and minor roads and be treated the same as a bicycle.”
Jesse Norman added: “At the moment, you cannot legally ride a scooter on a UK road or pavement, but we see a lot of them being ridden and they’re not on private land.
“There’s a question of how we react to that. And that, in turn, relates to a question about safety. We want to create a transport system that is as safe, resilient and convenient as possible.”