Following in the tracks of many other European cities, London may soon allow electric scooters to be used as a mode of transport.
This news may come as a surprise to many Londoners who have already been witness to e-scooters swooping with scant regard along the city’s pavements and walkways, but under current UK legislation, it is actually illegal to ride them on roads and pavements (even though they are widely available to buy). Such rules could be about to change however, as Transport for London is preparing to trial electric scooters being permitted to be ridden on roads and in bike lanes around the city.
The move is intended to encourage greener transport options for Londoners, with the scooters being treated in the same way, and subject to the same regulations as bicycles during the trial. Each is also expected to be fitted with speed inhibiting technology, limiting the vehicle to a top mph of 15.5.
Many other European cities have already welcomed e-scooters, as well as numerous apps that allow users to pay to hire one for a set time. Although London has seen similar apps for electric bike use spring up in big quantities in the last year, currently the only place in the capital where e-scooters can be hired is the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. In contrast, urban areas in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Poland, among others, have experienced an enormous rise in the use of scooters, despite their undeniable safety concerns. Indeed, London has already seen an e-scooter fatality, as Emily Hartridge, a 35-year-old YouTuber and TV presenter was killed in July 2019 while riding one in Battersea after colliding with a lorry.
With its narrow lanes, uneven pavements, traffic jams and thronging crowds, London may not be the most ideal city for scooting but, if Transport for London’s alteration in legislation goes ahead, locals may soon be able to add e-scooters to the list of morning commute options.