Rideables.org is not alone in being mystified at the way in which the UK govt is going about the legalisation process for PLEV (Personal Light Electric Vehicles).
At present the UK government have authorised a number of trials for rental escooters in various parts of the UK. These are in the main run by operators who have rental schemes running in Europe or other countries and are administered on a local level by local authorities. In these areas it is legal to hire an escooter but nowhere else in the UK is it currently legal to ride an escooter or any other form of micromobility, even if you own it, except on private land.
The government is, quite rightly, trying to ensure that any framework for legalising general use of escooters promotes safety and responsible use. Rideables.Org fully supports them in this but we are puzzled at why they have chosen the option to collect the data they need from rental firms only. This ignores the use of escooters by those who have chosen to purchase their own and more worryingly it totally disregards the other types of micromobility.
The Bicycle Association’s Phillip Darnton has said that whilst its early days accident data available so far suggests “that 80% have not involved anyone else. Also it seems to be that accidents happen most often when the rider has ridden 10 times or less. Thereafter it seems that risk tails off with experience.”
Users of privately owned devices are more likely to be familiar with the use of their own machine and will also be more likely to use a helmet and other appropriate safety equipment. There is therefore a risk that any data gathered from rental schemes might not correctly reflect the risk of private ownership use.
As we move into spring and the warmer weather in combination with easing of lockdown restrictions more people will be returning to the workplace. Doing so whilst leaving the car at home would be a real boost for our polluted cities but it seems this potential benefit might be lost.
Cycle Industry News – Electric Scooter trials: what’s the hold up on private ownership use? https://cyclingindustry.news/electric-scooter-trials-whats-the-hold-up-on-private-ownership-use/