A trial of e-scooters has started today in London, which will make them available for hire in a small number of London boroughs, although one borough has already postponed its involvement in the project until next month.
The vehicles will be available in Canary Wharf; food; Hammersmith and Fulham; Kensington and Chelsea, and Richmond, where users can also drive through Tower Hamlets.
The City of London, which was expected to participate in the trial on day one, has postponed its participation until July 5.
In a statement, the City of London Corporation said it was “committed to exploring how e-scooters can play a role in supporting a shift to sustainable travel”, but gave no reason for the latest delay.
While the use of e-scooters is already a common place on London’s roads, the trial is technically the only legal way to drive them.The rental e-scooters are provided by three different private operators:
Dott, Lime and TIER. They were chosen after a tendering procedure to assess whether they meet strict safety requirements and high company standards.
People taking part in the trial must register by verifying their personal details and presenting a driver’s license.
They must also complete mandatory in-app training before their first official ride. Transport for London (TfL) said the trial is part of a wider effort by TfL, London Councils, London Boroughs and the UK government to empower people to use greener modes of transport.
It added that it could also help stave off an expected increase in car use after the Covid-19 pandemic, which could worsen traffic congestion and air quality in London.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “E-scooters have been on our streets for some time now, but with very little regulation.
Safety is central to this trial, with strict precautions and parking measures, taking into account the needs of all road users and the role e-scooters can play in the future of London.”
Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens said the force is “happy to support this process”, but added:
“We would like to remind everyone that private e-scooters used outside of this process remain illegal and will be treated by means of seizure.
” On public roads, anyone using a private e-scooter or other motorized means of transport is likely to commit at least one of a number of offences, such as driving a motor vehicle without insurance, currently fines of £300 can be imposed in such cases, with six points added to the rider’s license In 2020, a charity urged people to take safety concerns seriously after it was found that nearly one in seven adults in the UK planned to ride an e-bike or e-scooter to buy.