E-scooters should be legalised on roads but riding on pavements should be prohibited

News / Fri 2nd Oct 2020 at 10:59am

E-SCOOTERS should be legalised on roads but riding on pavements should be prohibited, the Transport Committee of MPs has said. reports the BBC.

Currently, privately-owned e-scooters are banned to use in the UK anywhere except on private land.

The committee argues the vehicles, which usually travel 9-15mph, could offer a green alternative to the car.

Official trials of rented e-scooters have already been announced in some places in England.

While supporting the introduction of e-scooters, the Transport Committee said the government should use trials to monitor the numbers and types of collisions that take place. 

Describing riding e-scooters on pavements as “dangerous and anti-social”, the committee said the law should “prohibit their use on pavements” and that “robust enforcement measures” would be needed.

Further committee recommendations include allowing local authorities to determine the speed of e-scooters and encouraging users to wear helmets.

It also said there are “valid environmental concerns” about the processes used to recharge e-scooter batteries and advised the Department for Transport to monitor the environmental impact. 

The Tees Valley, Milton Keynes Borough, Northamptonshire, and the West Midlands have signed up to trial the use of rental e-scooters.

However a trial in Coventry was paused after five days following concerns over pedestrian safety and e-scooters being abandoned on the streets. 

‘Fraught with difficulties’

Committee chair Huw Merriman said: “E-scooters have the potential to become an exciting and ingenious way to navigate our streets and get from place to place.

“If this gets people out of the car, reducing congestion and exercising in the open air, then even better.”

But he added: “We need to ensure that their arrival on our streets doesn’t make life more difficult for pedestrians, and especially disabled people.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said e-scooters could “transform how many of us get around” but added “the path to introducing them safely is fraught with difficulties”.

He called for effective regulation and education of riders to ensure “limited road space” could be shared safely by drivers, cyclists and e-scooter riders.

And Roger Geffen from Cycling UK said the maximum speed and weight of e-scooters should be reduced before legalisation. 

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We welcome the outcome of the committee’s report today and believe that e-scooters can offer an affordable, reliable and sustainable way to travel.

“Safety will always be our top priority and our current trials are allowing us to better understand the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space, helping us to design future regulations.”

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