Rental e-scooters have at last become legal on UK streets
Today, Middlesbrough in north-east England become the first city in the UK to begin trials to allow electric scooters on to our streets.
The region’s Mayor Ben Houchen, praised the initiative as “clean energy, socially distant mode of transport”. An initial 100 scooters are set to appear in Middlesbrough later this month in a partnership with a new UK-based operator, Ginger, rolling it out across Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool
The scheme which it is hoped will be part of a green economic recovery, is seen as a way of improving air quality and reducing congestion. The coronavirus crisis was instrumental in forcing the government to speed up the pace of change so that all local authorities will now be able to set up their trials.
The transport minister, Rachel Maclean, said: “As we emerge from lockdown, we have a unique opportunity in transport to build back in a greener, more sustainable way that could lead to cleaner air and healthier communities across Great Britain. “E-scooters may offer the potential for convenient, clean, and cost-effective travel that may also help ease the burden on the transport network, provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing. The trials will allow us to test whether they do these things.”
“If there is strong uptake – and looking elsewhere in the world where they are being used it’s likely – then they will add to the case for bike lanes which would be good,” said Chris Boardman, the former Olympic cyclist turned Greater Manchester walking and cycling commissioner.
“Longer-term they may also see people progress to bikes for greater speed, range, and health so the potential to be a positive travel disruptor is high. However, there are a lot of hurdles that need to be addressed, such as the potential conflict with pedestrians and the need for smooth roads to stay safe. EV Market Place will be watching with interest to see how the trial goes.