UK government to bring in e-scooter law

The government has said new rules to expand legal use of e-scooters are a priority for the upcoming year.

It also said it would legislate to create a new body to oversee UK railways and ban ferries that do not pay workers the equivalent of minimum wage from docking at UK ports.

The government outlined the plans in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday.

E-scooters are widely sold and seen, but are currently only legal on private land or from government hire schemes.

“While riding a privately owned e-scooter on public land is currently illegal, we are considering how best to design future regulations and our Transport Bill will help us to take the steps we need to make e-scooters safer and support innovation,” a government spokeswoman said.

Official rental trial schemes have been set up in more than 30 areas across England. E-scooters in these trials are limited to 15.5mph and have automatic lights as safety features.

“Safety will always be our top priority and our trials are helping us to better understand the benefits of properly regulated, safety-tested e-scooters and their impact on public space,” a spokeswoman said.

Private e-scooters are widely sold, prompting concerns about illegal and unsafe use.

On 27 April, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs he would “crack down” on illegal e-scooter sales in England.

But he also hinted that models that did meet government standards could soon be legalised for use on public roads in England.

The AA’s president Edmund King said “With e-scooters and other forms of micro-mobility popping up more frequently on UK roads, it makes sense that safety regulation should come first.

“If introduced alongside appropriate infrastructure, e-mobility could help provide a positive shift in greener localised travel both for individuals and last-mile freight.”

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) said it was critical the government considered the needs of people who are blind or partially sighted.

Moussa Haddad, a policy manager for the charity, said: “E-scooters are fast-moving, operate quietly, making them difficult to detect, and are often ridden on pavements despite rules prohibiting this.

“Because of this, they pose particular risks for blind and partially sighted pedestrians.”

The charity said it was working with the Department for Transport, local councils and e-scooter operators to try to address these concerns.

“Making e-scooters more visually and audibly detectable will help reduce the risks these vehicles pose but these are only some of the solutions that are being explored,” Mr Haddad added.

In December, Transport for London introduced a ban on e-scooters and e-unicycles on its network, after a number of fires caused by the devices.

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