The Transport Committee has backed the legalisation of e-scooters for use on UK roads.
In a new report published today (2 Oct), the Committee says e-scooters have the potential to offer a ‘low cost, accessible and environmentally friendly alternative’ to the private car.
However, the Committee stresses any plans for legalisation should not be to the detriment of pedestrians, particularly disabled people.
The Committee calls for robust enforcement measures to eliminate pavement use of e-scooters, which the report says is dangerous and anti-social.
Currently, privately-owned e-scooters are banned to use in the UK anywhere except on private land.
Trials of rental e-scooters were legalised earlier this year, and have been launched in cities across the country, most recently in Norwich.
The Committee further caveats its report by calling for a sensible and proportionate regulatory framework for the legal use of e-scooters, based firmly on evidence gained from these trials and from other countries.
The Committee also says e-scooters should act as a replacement for short car journeys, rather than walking and cycling – adding it would be ‘counter-productive’ if an uptake in e-scooters primarily replaced more active and healthy forms of travel.
Huw Merriman MP, chair of the Transport Committee, said: “E-scooters have the potential to become an exciting and ingenious way to navigate our streets and get from place to place. If this gets people out of the car, reducing congestion and exercising in the open air, then even better.
“We support the Government’s desire to include e-scooters in the UK’s transport mix and the current rental trials will provide a crucial evidence base for future legislation.
“In order to learn how e-scooters impact on safety, the environment and people’s journey choices, the trials need to be accessible to a wide range of people and take place in a variety of different settings.
“We understand why driving licences were required for the trials, but it is a shame that key audiences were excluded at this stage.
“Most importantly, we heard first-hand about the impact of e-scooters on pavements. We need to ensure that their arrival on our streets doesn’t make life more difficult for pedestrians, and especially disabled people.
“Before proceeding with plans to legalise the use of e-scooters, local authorities and Government must use the trials to monitor this closely, put enforcement measures in place and ensure they are effective in eliminating this behaviour.”