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As the UK Fuel Crisis continues, we realise just how reliant we are on fossil fuel powered vehicles. With the pumps running dry daily, and queues streaming out of the forecourts, surely the question we must ask is, “when will electric scooters become legal?”
E-scooter trials are currently running up and down the country, with some having been extended to allow local councils, and the DfT (Department for Transport) to gather more information about how the trials are working, and to aid in the final decision of, if and how to legalise these electric vehicles.
In Sunderland, an eight-month trial began in March 2021. 300 electric scooters were made available for hire by Singaporean company Neuron. In order for you to rent one of Neuron’s bright orange scooters or any other e-scooter on the trials, you do need to hold a full-provisional driving licence. So far more than 42,000 trips have been made using the e-scooters, and according to Claire Rountree, the council's deputy leader, this means that these trips had cut back an estimated 12,000 car journeys. The council also found that 42% of riders said that the scooters had encouraged them to use their cars less.
In London the e-scooter trials began in June 2021, and according to Transport for London over 165,000 trips have been completed since. The borough of Camden is the latest London borough to begin the trial, initially set to join in October, but being brought forward and launched on 27 September. This brings the total number of e-scooters available to hire in London up to 3,480.
The end date for the UK e-scooter trials has been extended to the end of March 2022, and until then and beyond, privately owned electric scooters frustratingly remain illegal to ride in public, with risk of confiscation, points and fines. We’re not the only ones who think that legalising scooters will significantly reduce car use, the Centre for London think-tank published a report on Thursday entitled ‘Micromobility in London’. This report examines how London could capitalise on ‘emerging vehicles’ to reduce car use and has called on the Government to completely legalise e-scooter to “encourage safe ridership” and to provide more transport options that will decrease reliance on cars. The Centre of London's research manager, John Cottell said “The shift to these emerging vehicles is already happening, but we need the government to catch up and introduce policies which encourage safe ridership of e-scooters and e-bikes on our streets and ensures anyone who wants to use these vehicles able to do so.”
Centre for London’s report also found that micromobily vehicles, which include e-scooters and e-bikes, produce between 34 and 90 percent fewer carbon emissions than private cars, while also not producing any harmful pollutants. The report also found that up to two-thirds of car journeys made in London could be made via e-scooter or e-bike in under 20 minutes, with greater benefits in outer London where there are fewer public transport options.
Some really encouraging data coming from local authorities, the DfT and independent reports, which shows that e-scooters are really encouraging drivers to ditch their cars and take the cleaner, more sustainable option.
We can’t wait for spring 2022, and are hopeful that the Government will do the right thing and legalise e-scooters!
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