Could ban on electric scooters be set to end?

12.43 | 13 March 2019 | | 5 comments

Image: Bird

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.”



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    The really worrying thing is that public consultation is not mentioned. And, if – “we’re seeing these all over the streets already”, then clearly there is little or no enforcement.

    This is another ratcheting up of making conditions for pedestrians, especially those with mobility problems, worse and worse. It is no wonder that people are walking less, the whole physical environment for pedestrians is a disgrace and those responsible do not care less.

    Richard Walker

    Agree (2) | Disagree (8)

    Having been to Poland late last year and had fun travelling short distances around Krakow on such scooters through the “Lime” app scheme it should be possible to get some real information and perhaps evidence as to how such transport works in a real environment?

    Nick Hughes, Preston
    Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

    No way David. You might be making another plea in support the 20 is plenty scheme but my roads are dangerous enough without allowing all and sundry to join me and create even more danger.

    If we allow such scooters where will it stop perhaps even pedal cyclists on the road, god forbid. I say that because cyclists in my town know or believe that the roads are dangerous to them and therefore they always ride on the pavements and by doing so cause greater danger to pedestrians instead.

    Agree (1) | Disagree (12)

    These should not be permitted on pavements – pedestrians need to be safe and to feel safe. If they are genuinely restricted to low speeds, on local roads, possibly…. but we would need to bring down vehicle speeds to around 20mph.

    David Davies, London
    Agree (10) | Disagree (3)

    Allowing cyclists on our pavements was bad enough and the thin edge of the wedge but this seems to be going from bad to worse. Mark my words if we allow this we will open the doors for all sorts of other electric vehicles and then there will be not only a safety issue but taxable one with insurances, responsibilities etc. If so we will need about twice the police force that we currently pay for and I doubt that will happen. Hopefully, not in my lifetime anyway.

    Agree (6) | Disagree (12)

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