An 11pm shut-off time has been imposed on the e-scooters being trialled in Newcastle after five men were charged with drink driving last week. Operator Neuron says there has been a “significant drop in the number of reported incidents” since the curfew was imposed.
The first 250 Neuron scooters were made available for use on Tuesday February 16. They were an immediate hit, getting a combined 1,000 uses a day in the first week and with reports of people following the vans that were distributing them around the city.
Only rented scooters covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy are currently street-legal in the UK. In Newcastle, riders must be over 18 with a valid provisional or full driving licence.
Chronicle Live reports that Northumbria Police arrested seven users in the early hours of last Thursday morning.
Five were charged with driving a motor vehicle while over the legal limit and another with failing to provide a specimen. The seventh person was released without charge.
Chief Inspector Alan Pitchford said: “It is important that riders act responsibly, abide by the law and ultimately don’t put themselves or others in danger.
“Unfortunately, there have been instances where it has been necessary for officers to intervene and take action.
“We would ask all users to follow the rules and laws in place, which are there for the safety of everyone, and that they fully understand the potential consequences of not doing so.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to remind people that under the current Government Covid-19 restrictions people should only be making essential journeys.”
In the wake of the arrests, councillors decided that the scooters would be shut off between 11pm and 5am until at least the end of lockdown.
A day later, Neuron’s UK expansion manager, George Symes, said: “In the first weeks of any new trial it’s key to evaluate how e-scooters are being used then quickly adapt to iron out any problems and make the service better. We are working closely with Newcastle City Council to address some of the initial feedback we’ve received from important groups in the city.
"Since introducing the 11pm – 5am curfew we’ve already seen a significant drop in the number of reported incidents and we’ll keep adapting the service further to make sure e-scooters are integrated into Newcastle in the best, and safest, possible way.”