E-scooters will be available to rent in London from June after three operators – Dott, Lime and Tier – were selected by Transport for London and London Councils to conduct trials.
While the use of privately owned e-scooters on public roads remains illegal, a blanket ban was lifted last July to allow for trials of rented scooters covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy.
Around 50 trials are currently underway in various towns and cities across the country and a decision on altering the legal status of e-scooters had been expected this August.
However, it was reported earlier this month that the government would await the outcome of trials in London before making any changes and these have repeatedly been delayed.
Retailers have criticised the “dithering and delay,” arguing the extension will only serve to increase public confusion about e-scooters’ legal status.
TfL and London Councils have today announced that London’s e-scooter trials will begin on Monday June 7, in a core group of boroughs, Canary Wharf and the City of London. More areas are expected to join the 12-month trial as it progresses.
Strikingly, safety standards will go further than those set out at a national level. E-scooters will be restricted to a lower maximum speed of 12.5mph; lights at the front and rear will remain on throughout any rental; and audible warning systems will be in place that can be used without the rider adjusting their grip of the handlebars.
As with other trials, scooters will only be permitted on roads and cycleways – not on footways.
“We want to ensure a green, sustainable recovery from coronavirus, and e-scooters are an alternative to cars that could help with this,” commented London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman.
“The safety of those using e-scooters, as well as other road users and pedestrians, is absolutely paramount, so it’s important that they are trialled in this rigorous way to ensure high standards. We look forward to exploring the role that e-scooters could play in London’s future.”
Henri Moissinac, CEO and co-founder of Dott, said: “We’re delighted to win the London tender, and this feels like just the beginning for Dott in the UK. We are proud to be a part of the trial and grateful to the TfL and London Councils for their trust. This decision is testament to the daily work of Dott’s local and international teams, who have been providing a high-quality, accessible and reliable service, since our foundation.
We are excited that we will soon be able to offer Londoners the best micro-mobility services, working closely with local authorities and other operators to build a better and more sustainable city.”
Wayne Ting, CEO of Lime said: “We're proud to have already served more than 400,000 Londoners through our shared e-bike service over the last three years, and are delighted to now be able to bring our latest e-scooters to London. By offering two safe, convenient and zero-emission travel options through the Lime app, we hope to contribute to the development of a greener transport system that is accessible for everyone.
“London is one of the world's greatest cities and we’re humbled that Transport for London and London Councils have placed their trust in us to deliver one of the UK's largest e-scooter trials in the capital. We are now focused on developing a world-class e-scooter service for residents and visitors to London - improving and innovating alongside TfL, the boroughs and the other operators to ensure Lime works for every Londoner.”
Lawrence Leuschner, CEO and Co-founder, Tier Mobility, said: “This is a hugely proud moment for TIER and we cannot wait to start working with London, a city famed for transport innovation, from constructing the first underground railway to building the world’s first international airport.
“Our e-scooters will not only give Londoners a new, convenient and environmentally-friendly mode of transport, but will bring jobs to the city and a financial boost for the small high-street businesses who choose to house the battery charging pods which make up our unique Energy Network.
“We will be applying all of the experience and knowhow we’ve gained from other major cities to ensure that Tier’s e-scooter scheme in London is a success, not just for riders but for other road users and communities at large.”