As the UK’s first trial of electric scooters gets underway in Middlesbrough, the Government has confirmed riders can be prosecuted for careless and dangerous driving offences, as well as under drink and drug driving laws.
Regulations allowing trials of rental e-scooters on UK roads came into force on 4 July.
The first trial has gone live in Middlesbrough today (13 July), with an initial 50 e-scooters available for public use.
In the scheme’s early phase, hubs for the re-charging and parking of the e-scooters have been set up at popular and busy areas such as Middlesbrough Bus Station, Riverside Park and Linthorpe Village.
The pilot will then be expanded across all five boroughs of the Tees Valley later this month.
Ben Houchen, Tees Valley mayor, said the trial will provide local people with a “clean, cost-effective and socially distanced alternative to other forms of public transport”.
To mark the launch of the first trial, the Government has published a set of guidelines for members of the general public who are using e-scooters.
The guidelines confirm riders can be prosecuted for careless and dangerous driving offences, as well as under drink and drug driving laws. The use of mobile phones is not permitted.
They also set out rules and regulations on issues such as speed, driving licenses, insurance and helmets – which are recommended but are not a legal requirement.
Announced on 30 June, the fast-tracked trials are designed to help the Government assess the benefits of e-scooters – in particular their impact on public space, motor traffic, the environment and safety.
They have been launched in a bid to ease pressure on public transport during the Covid-19 pandemic.