The micromobility industry has welcomed the comments Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has made indicating that private e-scooters could be legalised in Britain for use on roads.
The Cabinet Minister said that laws concerning e-scooters will be included in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May.
Private e-scooters can currently only be ridden on private land, however they are commonly seen in towns and cities.
Mr Shapps told the Commons Transport Select Committee: “We will take powers to properly regulate and then be able to decide the usage of them. They’re a reality, they exist. If these things exist they need to be made safe, and I think the [rental e-scooter] trials have been useful in gathering data.”
In response to the comments, Founder of retailer Pure Electric Adam Norris told Zag Daily: “Safe regulation is the right direction of travel for private e-scooters. The UK is still the only major European economy not to have legalised private e-scooters and yet, we know that 63% of the UK public would consider one if they were legalised. If the Government introduces regulations that allow people to use e-scooters productively, the scale of the opportunity to get people out of cars and dramatically reduce air pollution and congestion is huge.”
Chief Executive of CoMoUK Richard Dilks said: “There is an imperative to improve safety because our laws currently do not define and recognise e-scooters, and we need standards for aspects such as their top speed, braking and lighting. We look forward to seeing the details of what is proposed.”
AA President Edmund King OBE told Zag: “We need to embrace this new technology, whilst also ensuring we have the right regulations and infrastructure such as more dedicated cycle/scooter lanes.”
Voi’s Head of Public Policy for UK, Ireland and the Netherlands Matthew Pencharz supports “in principle” the notion of private scooter use as it promotes a sustainable mode of transport.
“But regulations which permit their usage must ensure a level playing-field between rental and private vehicles to ensure riders, pedestrians and other road users are safe,” said Pencharz.
PACTS Executive Director David Davies added: “It will be interesting to see if features he mentions, such as geo-fencing, are feasible. Legislation will be included in the Queen’s speech on 10th May, but it will take much longer to agree and implement the regulations. We are disappointed that the monitoring report of the rental trials is still not published but it should provide useful data when it is.”
The announcement comes as nine organisations this week came together to urge the UK Government to bring forward legislation that would create a new powered light vehicle class.