A major UK transport review by the Government could see electric scooters being allowed on the UK’s public roads.
The Department for Transport’s (DfT) Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy will examine regulations concerning new types of vehicle, such as e-scooters and bicycle trailers. Stand-on electric scooters are classed as PLEVs (Personal Light Electric Vehicles) and, although they are growing in popularity, it’s currently only legal to use them on private land in the UK.
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The review will also consider how data-sharing can reduce congestion, as well as how planning and paying for journeys can be simplified. In addition, the Government will look at ways of modernising laws from as far back as the 19th century.
Part of the DfT review involves the launch of four Future Mobility Zones in towns and cities around the country. With a total investment of £90 million, these areas will be used to test new ideas for improving journeys.
Roughly 80 per cent of people in the UK now use smartphones, so the review will also involve examining mobile technology as a quick and convenient means payment for transport.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, welcomed the review’s potential to decrease congestion in urban areas, but warned: “Clearly, much needs to be thought through before electric scooters can be allowed to use UK roads legally.
“While improvements in technology are providing many new exciting transport possibilities, the key to gaining public acceptance must surely be demonstrating they can be used safely.”
Lyes went on to say that while electric scooters are convenient and affordable, the vulnerability of riders in the event of a collision is arguably even greater than that of those on bicycles.
He added: “Care needs to be taken to ensure the safety of all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, as new modes of transport gain popularity.”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “The automotive industry is responding to perhaps the most significant change since the invention of the car.”
He said the strategy would give industry the necessary scope to “invest and innovate, developing exciting new services” and help “position the UK as a global leader in future mobility”.