E-scooters will be allowed on Britain’s roads from this Saturday, the Department for Transport has announced.
New regulations enabling trials of rental e-scooters will come into force on Saturday and the first schemes are expected to be launched next week, transport minister Rachel Maclean said.
The trials are being held for 12 months to assess whether the devices reduce motor traffic and what impact they have on the safety of users and those around them.
Riders who participate in the pilots will need a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence, must be aged at least 16 and will be urged to wear a helmet.
Only rental e-scooters will be allowed on roads, and they will be limited to 15.5mph.
Ms Maclean said: “As we emerge from lockdown, we have a unique opportunity in transport to build back in a greener, more sustainable way, which could lead to cleaner air and healthier communities across Great Britain.
“E-scooters may offer the potential for convenient, clean and cost-effective travel that may also help ease the burden on the transport network, provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing.
“The trials will allow us to test whether they do these things.”
E-scooters are currently banned in the UK on public roads and pavements, but this does not stop many people using them.
The Metropolitan Police caught nearly 100 riders in London in a single week last summer.
We're excited about the UK's decision to authorize shared scooter trials throughout the country today!
We've operated 🚲 in London for a year+ and see scooters as a perfect complement for short trips!
We applaud @transportgovuk's vision to provide UK residents more options!🇬🇧
— Lime (@limebike) June 30, 2020
YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge became the first person in the UK to be killed while riding an e-scooter when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea, south London, in July last year.
Alan Clarke, director of UK policy and government affairs at US scooter rental firm Lime, said: “Today’s announcement that the UK is embracing micromobility, with trials of e-scooters now able to begin, presents a real opportunity for change.
“E-scooters have been commonplace on roads and in cities across Europe for some time and Lime users around the world have already taken more than 150 million rides, saving more than 12,000 tonnes of CO2, whilst helping to reduce congestion and air pollution.
“Over the coming days, weeks and months as trials start, we’re looking forward to building healthier, greener and safer cities across the UK.”