A 9mph evening speed limit is being imposed on the e-scooters being trialled in Newcastle until next week. Operator Neuron says the measure is an effort to prevent the hire vehicles from being ridden dangerously by “overly-exuberant revellers” now that pubs are open again.
The first 250 Neuron scooters were made available for use in Newcastle in February and were an immediate hit, getting a combined 1,000 uses a day in the first week.
However, an 11pm shut-off time was subsequently introduced after five men were charged with drink driving – e-scooters are treated as motorised vehicles with all the implications of travelling in a car. Neuron said this move resulted in a significant drop in the number of incidents reported to them.
In a bid to pre-empt potential problems this weekend, the Chronicle reports that the firm has decided to reduce the vehicles’ maximum speed from 15mph to 9mph after 6pm until April 18. Riders will also be prevented from parking in large parts of the city centre between 6pm and 11pm.
A third move will see a reaction test added to the Neuron app which “promotes self-reflection and helps riders assess whether they should be riding an e-scooter”.
Neuron city manager, Chris Miles, commented: “Like everyone we’re excited for the lockdown to end and can’t wait for more people to have the opportunity to use our e-scooters.
“We look forward to helping people reconnect with their friends and families but it’s important that we all do everything we can to make sure that e-scooters continue to be used safely.
“We advise all new and existing riders to follow the rules and to ride responsibly. Now is the time to be enjoying new-found freedom rather than risking points on your licence or spending time in A&E.”