Step in the right direction
Electric scooter aficionados can dial up their excitement levels another notch following the official launch of The Transport Committee's inquiry into the safety & legal implications of electric scooters on UK highways.
Following our update in January, we're happy to report that the inquiry is now underway (as of Tuesday 21st April 2020) with the aim of investigating the contribution e-scooters can play in helping the UK reach their greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.
Huw Merriman MP, who is The Chair of the Transport Committee, said in a statement:
“Electric scooters could be a useful lever to reduce our transport carbon footprint but their environmental credentials have yet to be proven. These ‘powered transporters’ could reduce the amount of time we spend in cars and reduce congestion but we don’t want to score an own goal by encouraging the use of micromobility vehicles instead of walking and cycling."
Then in a statement that is as bold as it is sensible, he went on to say:
"We’d like to hear from manufacturers about the design and build of e-scooters. The public may have views on whether there should be specific vehicle or user requirements. Are e-scooters something good and positive which will take traffic off the road - one part of what the Department for Transport describes as a ‘transport revolution’? Let’s see if those who respond to our inquiry agree."
Again, we're spurred on by the practical questions being asked. Working with electric scooter manufacturers and peer governments across both sides of the pond is something we have been shouting for through our campaigns and blog posts since the inception of My Scoot. It just makes sense. Manufacturers are an excellent source of invaluable data on the safety of their own products and in our experience would be all too happy to work alongside governments to design, build, market and communicate safer e-scooter products and operation. This is precisely what German e-scooter Egret did in introducing their 100% road-legal electric scooter in Germany.
Proving the case
The committee is hoping to address several points during the inquiry:
- is the current e-scooter legislation appropriate?
- can the use of e-scooters ease urban congestion?
- can e-scooters prove to be a sustainable form of transport?
- where in the urban environment e-scooters could be used (e.g. road, pavement, cycle lanes), and potential impact on other road users and pedestrians
- requirements for safety equipment (lights, helmets etc)
- whether there should be safety and environmental regulation for the build of e-scooters, and what this might entail; and
- the experience of other countries where e-scooters are legal on the roads.
We're impressed that UK Gov has been able to push ahead, notwithstanding their focus on dealing with the CoVid-19 situation and hope that the UK will finally map out a road to cleaner, less noisy, less congested and safer urban environments through the legalisation of electric scooters, placing us on a par with our European peers.