Grant Shapps, Transport Minister for the UK Government, announced on Saturday (9/5/20) that electric scooter trials have been handed over to "next month". Only four local authorities were originally set to trial e-scooters sometime in 2021, but the Coronavirus pandemic has led to the trials being fast-tracked to next month and made available to all regions of the UK.
"E-scooter trials will be brought forward from next year to next month to encourage more people off public transport and onto greener alternatives," says the GOV.UK website. "Now (to) be offered to all local areas across the country, (this) will allow the government to assess the benefits of e-scooters as well as their impact on the public realm, with the potential to see hire cars on UK roads as early as June."
Along with walking and cycling, Shapps himself identified e-scooters as a potentially important contributor to getting the UK's workforce back to work healthily.
"We know that cars will continue to be crucial for many, but as we look to the future, we must build a better country with greener travel habits, cleaner air and healthier communities," he said.
The details of how the e-scooter trials will work, including the rules and legislation that will govern the trials, are yet to be unveiled, and it has been suggested that regions will have to apply to adopt the trial in their area. Key questions will revolve around whether helmet use or some form of insurance will be mandatory, and whether e-scooters will require speed limits.
"Travelling on public transport does not allow for social distancing and therefore I believe there is a higher risk of coronavirus transmission."
As the government sets out tentative, conditional plans to gradually move the UK out of lockdown, many have worried about how they will get to work (when they are told to do so). For example, it has been clear that it will be impossible for people to effectively get off public transport, especially during rush hour.
Those on the frontline have shared their views on the risks of using public transport with many, telling of the inevitable dangers and their fear of using it. "Public transport is a potential haven for coronavirus - there are so many touch points," says London-based paramedic Adam.
His colleague Ian, a paramedic manager, agrees: "I'm worried about myself and my staff. Travelling on public transport does not allow for social distancing and therefore I believe there is a higher risk of coronavirus transmission."
The government has admitted that only 1 in 10 will be able to use it, even if public transport is running at full capacity, while effectively distancing itself from society. It is also aware that the benefits thatimproved air quality seen over the course of the UK lockdownshould not get lost.
Air pollution not only causes 40,000 to 50,000 premature deaths a year, but studies have shown that it may play a role in higher covid-19 mortality, with hearts and lungs weakened by dirty air.
The government has announced that a total of £2bn will be invested in encouraging and facilitating walking, cycling and green travel.
With public transport capacity now greatly reduced - and trying to ensure that the UK doesn't opt for car travel en masse, which could increase congestion and plunge air quality to its worst levels on record - the government has announced that a total of £2bn is to be invested in encouraging and facilitating walking, cycling and green travel.
GOV.UK details, "pop-up cycle lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer crossings and cycle and bus corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250m emergency active travel fund". Meanwhile, new bike and e-bike purchases will be encouraged through a wider implementation of the 'bike-to-work' scheme, and a maintenance voucher scheme will aim to help owners of older bikes get them back into safe working order.
What we don't know yet is what the speed limits will be and whether there will be an engine power limit for the electric scooters. We imagine it will be in line with electric bikes that have a 15mph pedal assist limit but we will know very soon. These are very exciting times as light electric vehicles are fun to ride, save time, reduce stress and can save a lot of money!
Check out ourElectric Scootersection of the website for products that fit the above criteria. Come and try them for free atRide and glideand see what all the fuss is about!!