The Government has approved plans for trials of electric scooters to begin on the UK’s roads from July 4, clearing the way for scooter rental companies to start offering their services across the country.
The Department for Transport announced new rules on Tuesday which will govern local trials of the scooters starting from this weekend.
Local authorities across the country are now expected to begin operating scooter trials in partnership with a number of scooter rental companies which have been lobbying the Government for years.
Although the rules are widely flouted, the use of privately owned electric scooters on public highways remains illegal in the UK. Anyone riding a private scooter on UK roads risks receiving a £300 fixed penalty notice and six points on their driving licence.
American scooter rental company Bird has been operating its pay-per-minute scooter service on privately owned land in the Olympic Park since 2018.
Bird’s European head Patrick Studener said: “Shortly the whole of the UK will be able to benefit from having a greener and more convenient alternative to cars. Decreasing car trips will reduce congestion and air pollution and make our towns and cities more livable for everyone.”
The new rules governing scooter trials require anyone riding a scooter to have a driving licence. They are not required to wear a helmet while riding one.
Scooters used in local trials will also be limited to 15.5mph.
The Government announcement comes after The Telegraph reported earlier this week that Uber's UK head Fred Jones had left to run scooter start-up Tier's UK operations.
Transport Minister Rachel 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."