The trial of e-scooters

The trial of e-scooters

On 30 June 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that rental electric scooters would be available for the first time in the UK as part of the government’s effort to support a ‘green’ restart of local transport following the easing of lockdown measures. 

‘E-scooters’ are now being introduced as part of a 12-month trial to test the impacts they have on traffic, safety and the use of public space in local areas. Given the potential for e-scooters to provide a means of socially distanced travel and reduce the number of passengers making use of public transport, this trial has been fast-tracked and expanded to all local areas in England, Scotland and Wales.

Legislative changes which came into force on 4 July 2020 allow rental e-scooters to be driven on cycle lanes, and DfT expects trials to begin by August 2020. The use of private e-scooters remains illegal.

 

Background to the trial

From 16 March to 3 July 2020, the government held a call for evidence as part of the DfT’s Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, which laid out the government’s principle-based approach to innovating the transport sector. The call for evidence asked, among other things, for respondent's views on the regulation of micromobility vehicles (which includes e-scooters). 

Micromobility vehicles were proposed as a way to replace short car journeys and provide alternative mobility in areas with limited public transport. They can act as ‘first/last-mile’ transport options between parking spots and final destinations, or homes and transport hubs. DfT also discussed the potential benefit of e-scooters providing inclusive and environmentally-friendly modes of transport, while reducing road congestion.

 

E-scooters and the environment 

One of the governing principles of the DfT’s Urban Strategy is the requirement that new mobility services ‘lead the transition to zero emissions’. This is in line with the government’s

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About the author:
Katrina is a paralegal in the LexisPSL Energy and Environment teams. She recently graduated with a law degree from Durham University, where she was a student member of the Durham Energy Institute and the UK Environmental Law Association. As part of her course Katrina also completed a dissertation entitled ‘Shareholder Primacy over Planetary Security: how the Companies Act 2006 fails to bring about corporate action in the face of climate change’, which has since been published in the Durham Law Review.