The Government has fast-tracked trials of e-scooters as part of a £2 billion investment in green travel solutions.
E-scooter trials will start next month – a year earlier than planned - to help encourage more people off public transport in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, e-scooters – which can travel at up to 15.5mph – are banned on roads and pavements in the UK.
Requirements for both e-scooters and those using them are being explored to make sure they are safe for use on roads. This includes a minimum age and vehicle standards as well as insurance requirements. The review will also consider if local authorities should have extra powers to manage the impacts of e-scooters on public space, for example where they can be parked.
The trials will be offered to all local areas across the country and will allow government to assess the benefits of e-scooters as well as their impact on public space, with the potential to see rental vehicles on UK roads as early as June.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands said: “This trial will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the region, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home.
“We will also use the trial to look at the current transport challenges the coronavirus pandemic has presented us with and explore how e-scooters could be used to help tackle them.
“No region is better equipped than the West Midlands to test, review, and implement trials such as these at pace and scale, and that is testament to the hard work and innovation of those working in our future transport sector.”
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “While drivers are lukewarm about the idea of having e-scooters on roads, they also often tell us they would like to have cheap, reliable alternative forms of transport so the Government is right to look at different ways for us to get around in congested cities.
“E-scooters could provide that alternative for short trips, though their safe use must always be the number-one priority. For example, it makes sense that these devices have safety features like reflectors and speed limiters fitted, and that options such as insurance and training are carefully looked at to see if they can bring additional safety benefits.
“The Department for Transport might also need to look at changes to the Highway Code to accommodate new forms of road transport.”