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First report on e-scooter trials reveals more than 2m users and 34m journeys

MORE than 2 million people have used shared e-scooters as part of successful trials across England, sparking calls for ministers to swiftly legalise their use.

With the number of rides surging past 34 million, and a strong safety record, the national charity for shared transport today said the government must embrace the popularity of e-scooters and bring forward legislation to ensure the UK does not miss out on the potential to lower transport emissions.

An open letter to Transport Secretary Mark Harper calling for the UK Government to take action on legislation has been published.

Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) has published its first report on the shared e-scooter trials that have been taking place in 31 locations across England since 2020. These trials are the only legal way to ride an e-scooter on the public highway.

The new CoMoUK report has found there have been 2.3 million scheme users up to January 2023, with 0.6 million of them in London.

The average ride time is 15.5 minutes, with trips averaging 1.6 miles, and the largest age cohort is 16-to-24.

CoMoUK said that as the ‘novelty factor’ of e-scooters has worn off, they have become an ‘established part of the transport mix and increase their potential to replace less sustainable modes of transport’ such as private cars.

The report also found that most anti-social conduct involving e-scooters relates to privately-owned ones, meaning perceptions are ‘undoubtedly clouded by the conduct of riders of privately owned e-scooters, which, unlike share e-scooters in the trial schemes, are totally unregulated’.

The strong safety record of the trials suggests there is just one serious injury per 500,000 trips, while 82 per cent of collisions involve private e-scooters.

CoMoUK has made seven key recommendations which require urgent action, including:

  • New legislation to create a new vehicle class for e-scooters with defined vehicle standards such as speed limits.
  • Better communication from the government and local authorities to emphasise that private e-scooters are not lawful on the public highway.
  • More parking infrastructure for e-scooters, taking space away from private cars.

Richard Dilks, chief executive of national shared transport charity CoMoUK, said:

“The evidence from the trials is that e-scooters are incredibly popular, with huge demand from users – as is the case in most countries where they have been introduced.

“They have proven to be far more than a flash in the pan, with sustained levels of use taking the number of rides to more than 34 million.

“Used properly, e-scooters are a very safe form of transport and a key part of the shared transport mix that will help people save money and cut emissions.

“But the UK is the only developed nation without permanent legality for e-scooters.

“The government must urgently deliver on its promise to legalise and regulate e-scooters so that they can be introduced across the UK and ensure we do not miss out on this golden opportunity.”

The CoMoUK report concluded:

“Shared e-scooters in the UK have proven themselves to have a strong contribution to make to decarbonisation, inclusion and enjoyment in transport in the two-and-a-half years of their operation to date.

“This momentum remains at risk until government moves to legislate. If it does, the UK has the chance, via detailed engagement between all stakeholders across public, private and third sectors, to get a new range of powered, light zero emission at tailpipe vehicles at its disposal.

“To meet the crisis levels of transport emissions within the wider climate crisis, it will need them.”

First report on e-scooter trials reveals more than 2m users and 34m journeys
Sam Banks

Sam Banks, a 21-year-old student from Bristol, uses a shared Voi e-scooter up to four times a day to travel to university and work. He said:

“Anytime I go anywhere I use an e-scooter – they are extremely convenient.

“The buses in Bristol are not always reliable, they are often late or don’t turn up, and for me to get to university or work I would have to travel into the city centre to change buses or walk a long distance.

“More generally, e-scooters are electric, and they help to reduce the number of people in cars which brings obvious environmental and health benefits.

“I would like to see these shared transport schemes brought in across the UK with proper regulations.”

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