Members of parliament have called for the government to legalise e-scooters as they offer a low cost, green alternative to private vehicles.
The move, outlined in a report E-scooters: pavement nuisance or transport innovation by the Commons Transport Committee, supports the introduction of e-scooters following current rental trials – and states plans for legalisation should not be to the detriment of pedestrians, particularly disabled people.
The committee called for robust enforcement measures to eliminate pavement use of e-scooters, which it said the law should clearly prohibit their use on pavements, and ensure that such enforcement measures are effective in eliminating this behaviour.
It calls for a “sensible and proportionate regulatory framework” for the legal use of electric scooters, based on evidence gained from current rental trials – and other countries. The current rental trials should allow evidence and data to determine the best way to legally incorporate both rental and privately owned e-scooters within the UK’s transport mix, it claimed.
The Department for Transport should encourage the use of e-scooters to replace short car journeys rather than walking and cycling, it claimed.
The Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said: “The UK remains the last major European economy where e-scooters are still banned to use anywhere except on private land and their use on UK roads is currently illegal. That is still a matter of surprise to many, as we see the numbers grow on our streets alongside the Department’s permitted rental trials.
“E-scooters have the potential to become an exciting and ingenious way to navigate our streets and get from place to place. If this gets people out of the car, reducing congestion and exercising in the open air, then even better. We support the Government’s desire to include e-scooters in the UK’s transport mix and the current rental trials will provide a crucial evidence base for future legislation.
In order to learn how e-scooters impact on safety, the environment and people’s journey choices, the trials need to be accessible to a wide range of people and take place in a variety of different settings. We understand why driving licences were required for the trials, but it is a shame that key audiences were excluded at this stage.
“Most importantly, we heard first-hand about the impact of e-scooters on pavements. We need to ensure that their arrival on our streets doesn’t make life more difficult for pedestrians, and especially disabled people. Before proceeding with plans to legalise the use of e-scooters, local authorities and Government must use the trials to monitor this closely, put enforcement measures in place and ensure they are effective in eliminating this behaviour.”