It has been announced that trials of electric scooter will once more be extended to run into Spring of 2022, likely further delaying clarity as to if and when privately sold e-scooters will be permitted on the roads and cycle paths in future.
The legal status has been under a long-term review and at a time when the world’s transport systems have been adversely impacted by Covid, potentially skewing realistic usership trends. The trials have sought to gather a wealth of data on usership trends, safety in both product design and on the road usage and to discover whether people are adopting the vehicles rather than taking other transport forms. In Vienna, high usership has resulted in the expansion of active travel infrastructure to the benefit of both electric scooter users and cyclists alike.
Though no public reason has been given for the extension, it is likely that delayed roll outs and further real world assessment is required in order to form policy decisions. London’s schemes, for example, have been among the last in Europe’s major cities to come online with cross-border authority disagreements rumoured to be to blame. In the next county over, Ford’s electric scooter arm, Spin, has recorded over 100,000 journeys to date.
Widespread electric scooter sharing trials have been active in the UK since July of 2020 and have steadily spread across the country as various operators have struck agreements with local councils. Users must be aged 16+ and hold at minimum a provisional driving licence. Insurance is covered, at present, by the hire schemes as part of the hire cost.
With the extension to the trials retailers carrying electric scooters will remain obliged to convey the legalities attached, namely that bought vehicles remain only legal to use on privately held land. The MET last year issued an open letter to remind stockists that “accurate information is prominent both in-store and online.”
According to CyclingIndustry.News’ own annual market report (purchased here), 49% of independent bike retailers stated that they had no intention of carrying electric scooter stock in 2021, while 6% said they would add to exiting stocks.