E-scooter trials: an open letter to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport
Grant Shapps, the secretary of State for Transport announced yesterday that the previous plans for trials in 4 locations within the UK had been amended and that trials can now proceed anywhere from the start of June. Further details are as yet unknown and rideables.org has written to the government requesting further details, the text of our enquiry is below –
Rideables.org was pleased to be involved in the Department of Transport Round Table meeting in early 2019.
Further to your earlier announcement regarding the fast tracking of e-scooter trials in the UK, and the plans for a £2billion investment in infrastructure to encourage people out of their cars, Rideables.org wholeheartedly welcome this news.
As the UK’s main non-profit organisation representing users of all types of personal electric vehicles, Rideables.org advocate sustainable travel for the long-term future in a safe, responsible and eco-friendly way.
As a group, we represent numerous grass root groups of micromobility users within the UK and as such we would like to offer our help in communicating with existing users, perhaps in assisting with dissemination of information regarding rules or regulations which may apply in trial locations.
We would be grateful if you could provide us with further information, in particular with reference to the following –
- Will the responsible use of privately owned micromobility devices (as defined in The Department for Transport’s “Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy – Moving Britain Ahead”) be permitted as a part of these trials?
- What rules or regulations will apply to users of micromobility devices while the trials are underway?
- What information is the government seeking as a result of these trials and how will the data be evaluated?
- How long do the government envisage such trials lasting?
- What metrics will be considered to determine trial success?
Rideables.org understand that e-scooter rental schemes have been very popular in other European countries however we would like to encourage the government to consider how private ownership and use of mircomobility devices can offer significant advantages over rental schemes. We have found amongst our members that:
- Private owners are more likely to wear appropriate personal protective equipment. Rental models are unlikely to offer safety equipment (including helmets).
- Private owners will have a greater understanding of the correct use and operation of their devices (and their limitations) and are more likely to ride responsibly.
- Private owners take a more responsible approach to the use and maintenance of their personal electric vehicles.
- The well publicised problems of irresponsible parking of rental devices do not exist with privately owned devices.
- There are already numerous small manufacturing and retail personal micromobility device businesses in the UK. This sector represents a potential growth opportunity for the UK economy and is directly linked to private ownership rather than the rental model.
Rideables.org firmly believe that personal electric vehicles are the future of inner-city travel. In conjunction with walking, cycling and public transport services, this form of transport has a great potential to cut congestion, cut pollution and reduce the impact of mass travel on public services.
Rideables.org continues to try to engage with the government to ensure that whilst the government and press tend to focus on e-scooter rental businesses the tens of thousands of private owners and users of micromobility devices are not forgotten. As a community we have been advocating the legalisation of all micromobility devices, not just e-scooters. A silver lining to the current CV-19 crisis has been cleaner air in our cities and quieter roads and we believe that the use of micromobility devices of all types will help to continue to enjoy these advantages as things return slowly to normal.