The Government has announced its intention to create a low-speed zero-emission category that is independent from the cycle and motor vehicle categories, with e-scooters hoped to be the first of these vehicles.
Yesterday, a Government spokesperson confirmed that new e-scooter legislation will be included in the upcoming Transport Bill, which was referenced in the Queen’s Speech earlier this week.
“While riding a privately owned e-scooter on public land is currently illegal, we are considering how best to design future regulations and our Transport Bill will help us to take the steps we need to make e-scooters safer and support innovation,” said the spokesperson. “Safety will always be our top priority and our trials are helping us to better understand the benefits of properly regulated, safety-tested e-scooters and their impact on public space.”
Speaking in the House of Lords, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, said: “Safety is also at the heart of our plans to create a regulatory framework for smaller, lighter, zero-emission vehicles, sometimes known as e-scooters.
“My Lords, their popularity is clear and new rules are needed to improve safety and crackdown on illegal use, whilst unlocking innovation and growth in this emerging, multi-billion pound industry. To that end, it is our intention that this bill will create a low-speed zero-emission category that is independent from the cycle and motor vehicle categories.
“New powers would allow the Government to decide the vehicles that fall into this new category in the future and how they should be regulated to make sure they are safe to use. We hope that e-scooters will be the first of these vehicles.”
News that privately-owned e-scooters could soon be made road legal had previously been welcomed by organisations including CoMoUK and the Bicycle Association. In response to the Queen’s Speech, Bird’s general manager James Padden said: “It is time that legislation catches up with the innovation of industry and demand from consumers but more than that, this is a potentially critical development for climate action.”
Jack Samler, general manager at Voi UK and Ireland, said: “We welcome the plan to create a new independent vehicle category and legalise e-scooters in the UK. This will allow more people to adopt this affordable and sustainable transport model, reducing congestion and pollution in our cities and towns.
“Over 12 million rides were taken on Voi e-scooters and e-bikes since the launch of the trials and 39% modal shift from cars to e-scooters, representing an estimated 4.5 million short car trips replaced. Shared e-scooter schemes, such as Voi’s, have successfully demonstrated that they can be safely integrated with other forms of public transport, bicycles and walking to give people carbon-free transport options.
“As the UK’s leading scooter operator, we look forward to working with our city partners and the government to support the upcoming legislation as it passes through Parliament.”
For more news and updates on all things e-scooters and micromobility, check out BikeBiz’s sister site micromobilitybiz.com.