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TOPIC: What future for e-scooters in London?

What future for e-scooters in London?
31 May 2022 14:56 #6466

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Watch a recording of a webinar that took place last week, organised by Centre for London.

E-scooters: the future of green transport in London?

E-scooters could play a role in ensuring a green and sustainable future for London, helping people to use private cars less. Yet many worry about their use, fearing an increase in accidents and reduction in physical activity.

Over the last year, TfL have worked in partnership with e-scooter rental companies to run trials in London to test their popularity and work out the best ways to protect the public. Many campaigners are in support of micromobility within London and see e-scooters as an environmentally friendly form of transport but concerns with the safety around using e-scooters remain.

Join our webinar and hear transport experts, road users and pedestrians discuss:

  • The e-scooter trial: What has happened? What have we learnt?
  • What can we learn from other countries across Europe that have legalised e-scooters?
  • What would need to happen to make e-scooters safer for all road users and pedestrians?
  • How can we make e-scooter use work with other sustainable modes of transport?

This event has been generously supported by London TravelWatch (Supporting Sponsor). Follow the conversation using the hashtag #LondonEscooters on all platforms. Find us on Twitter: @centreforlondon or find out more about us on our website: centreforlondon.org 

Chair
Callum Marius Transport Editor, MyLondon

Presentation
Josh Cottell Research Manager, Centre for London

Panel
Emma Gibson, CEO, London TravelWatch
Helen Sharp, E-scooter Trial Lead, Transport for London
Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens, Road and Transport Policing Command, Metropolitan Police Service
Haren Thillainathan, Member, London Sight Loss Council

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What future for e-scooters in London?
02 Jun 2022 09:49 #6467

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I watched a bit of the discussion which was interesting. I think the way e-scooters were introduced was very badly handled and the government should have taken a lot more responsibly for the assessing the safety issues. When you have been overtaken by an e-scooter in a 20mph zone which was doing at least 30mph and set off speed cameras with no consequences (and gone through a red light) you realise a few things. They should not be on the road (not off road) in any shape or form without the following: Passing a riding test, insurance, safety helmets and finally number plates. Unless they are regulated they will continue to cause the same issues. Such as an age limit on who can ride them depending also on what speed they go. I really cannot understand why we treat them like toys when they are another form of motor cycle. Why are they exempt from the same rules as the majority of road users. I also think by the way cyclists should have some form of insurance but that is another debate.

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What future for e-scooters in London?
08 Jun 2022 16:23 #6468

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E-scooters are in principle regulated pretty tightly but the regulation is not being enforced. The government only allows trial usage of hired e-scooters in selected locations around the country and they have to conform to specified technical parameters, which I think is a sensible approach to their introduction. Any e-scooters that we encounter in Enfield are being ridden illegally and many of them probably don't meet the specified safety standards. The policemen who took part in the webinar says that they may not even have proper brakes. Many of them are not speed limited. They should not be on the road and if our government provided local authorities and police with adequate resources these rules could be enforced. However, the current government seems reluctant to provide the means to enforce any rules unless they are rules that crack down on historic democratic freedoms, such as voting rights and the right to protest and demonstrate.

While personally I'd prefer it if e-scooters didn't exist and people rode bikes instead, we can't uninvent them, and they will undoubtedly help with the essential task of drastically reducing the number of cars on the road (essential because of the climate crisis). Proper regulation regarding safety and speed limited to say 15mph are also essential and we need to get them off pavements. Which makes it all the more important to urgently put in cycle and e-scooter lanes along all A and B roads.

However, even more important than enforcing rules about e-scooters is enforcement of rules about driving cars, which kill five people a day on average and cause a much larger number of serious injuries. Huge number of people routinely break the law by speeding, using phones when driving, parking on double yellows, undertaking, close passing of cyclists and pedestrians, and other forms of dangerous driving. The police and councils aren't given the resources to enforce this regulation. Let's do something about that first.

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What future for e-scooters in London?
09 Jun 2022 09:15 #6469

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Hi, I agree with all your points and thanks for adding some context but I don't think they are a replacement for cars in any shape or form unlike bikes. You cannot carry anything them and they are not designed to transport anything or can be adapted such as the way cargo bikes have evolved. They also have quite a limited range or so I thought until I saw youtube videos of them being ridden on motorways.

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What future for e-scooters in London?
10 Jun 2022 14:16 #6470

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But they do look like a lot of fun. Subject to all the appropriate rules and regulation I can see them being a useful part of the active travel mix. The idea of popping along to the GP, or up the hill to ASDA for a small something or calling on a friend a mile or so away, quickly and with minimal trouble seems brill to me. More generally, we do seem to be moving into a transition zone where there’s ever more non-car travel about, but the highways are frequently deemed unsafe by lots of those travellers, hence it often ends up on the pavement (and park paths as nearly got me this morning). That’s no good. £1.80+ a litre petrol may have one-part silver lining.

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What future for e-scooters in London?
17 Jun 2022 19:54 #6476

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There's a very comprehensive and informative article about the pros and cons of e-scooters and other forms of "micro-mobility" on the Smart Transport website , beginning

“I think that they (e-scooters) can play a very important role, not so much in the short term to encourage modal shift away from the car, but in the longer term as part of a less car-dependent transport system. They will play a very important role for certain groups of people, mainly younger generations, to delay the onset of car ownership or perhaps prevent car ownership altogether.”

The above was part of a submission to a Parliament Transport Select Committee hearing made by Jillian Anable, professor of transport and energy at the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS), University of Leeds.

It was one of a number of statements put forward to extol the possible virtues of e-scooters.

While the automotive industry inflates the size of cars with each new model year – and electric vehicles (EVs) are no exception – the carbon budget and the safety of our road network dictates that we look for smaller, lighter vehicles for personal transport. The smallest of these is the electric kick scooter.


Reading the article reveals quite how complex the issues are.

It seems the UK is the last country in Europe where riding an e-scooter is illegal (apart from the trial areas), but licensing conditions vary from country to country. In the UK trial areas users have to have a driving licence or provisional licence. E-scooters are only one of a whole range of novel motorised forms of transport, ranging from electric roller skates at the smallest end to quadricycles - tiny cars and vans - at the largest end (none of which can be used on UK roads or pavements).

Issues concerning safety are similarly complex. While e-scooters clearly create hazards,

the International Transport Forum Safe Micromobility report of September 2020 set out the relative risks in context, saying: “A trip by car or by motorcycle in a dense urban area is much more likely to result in the death of a road user – this includes pedestrians – than a trip by a Type A micro-vehicle.

“A modal shift from motor vehicles towards Type A micro-vehicles can thus make a city safer. A shift from walking to Type A micro-vehicles would have the opposite effect.

“The very limited available data reveals similarities and differences between e-scooters and bicycles in terms of risks. A road fatality is not significantly more likely when using a shared-standing e-scooter rather than a bicycle.

“The risk of an emergency department visit for an e-scooter rider is similar to that for cyclists. Two studies, however, found the risk of hospitalisation to be higher with e-scooters, which calls for further investigation.”


The view of Living Streets quoted in the article is that under no circumstances should e-scooters be allowed on pavements, while acknowledging the the current state of the UK's roads and the behaviour of some drivers means that the road can be hazardous for e-scooter riders. Living Streets also does not want to see e-scooting replacing walking, which is safer and healthier.
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