Electric scooter rental launched in London on June 7
A man riding a Lime electric scooter in Berlin, Germany, June 21, 2019.
Thomas Trutschel | Photo library via Getty Images
LONDON – From June 7, Londoners will be officially allowed to ride an electric scooter.
Urban transport regulators said on Tuesday that a handful of electric scooter rental companies had been selected to conduct trials in the UK capital next month.
Operators include US start-up Lime, German company Tier and its Dutch rival Dott, Transport for London (TfL) said. The pilot will last 12 months.
Areas covered by the trials include Ealing, Canary Wharf, City of London, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Richmond upon Thames.
Riders will be able to travel through – but not start or end trips in – Tower Hamlets. The London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark are also looking to participate in the trials.
Rental rates will be set individually by the operators and have not yet been confirmed.
British government first ad plans to speed up the deployment of electric scooter rental trials across the country last year.
The move was seen as part of a larger effort to get the British out after the lockdown with electric bikes and scooters, using a healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative to cars and public transport.
In the UK, the electric scooter is classified as PLEV, or personal light electric vehicle, and these are illegal on UK roads or sidewalks.
However, scooter rentals from licensed operators are now permitted in several cities and regions across the UK thanks to further trials, although private models remain banned in public spaces. If the trials are successful, the laws will likely be updated.
In London, electric scooters will be required to meet a top speed of 12.5 mph, lower than the national maximum of 15.5 mph. Vehicles should also be fitted with front and rear lights and audible warning systems that can be used without riders having to adjust their grip on the handlebars.
The legalization of e-scooters has raised concerns from security activists. In 2019, YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge died after her electric scooter collided with a truck in London.
And some authorities fear e-scooters are a nuisance. In some cities where they are permitted, two-wheelers have been thrown into rivers and passed through shopping malls.
“Safety remains our number one priority and we will work closely with electric scooter operators, London councils and boroughs to ensure that high standards are consistently met,” said Helen Sharp, Scooter Testing Manager Tuesday. electric from TfL.
Local authorities participating in the London trials will provide designated parking spaces for the scooters, while geo-fencing technology will be deployed to prevent people from taking them outside of accepted areas.
Two notable exceptions to the list of approved electric scooter operators in London were Swedish company Voi and Silicon Valley company Bird. Bird is already performing a electric scooter limited trial in the London Olympic Park, classified as private land.
Voi said he was “disappointed” not to be included in TfL’s electric scooter rider and raised concerns about the scale and scope of the test.
“There are also concerns that the chosen operators currently hold less than 5% of the UK licensed micro-mobility market, which means their local operating experience is severely limited,” a spokesperson for Voi told CNBC .
Voi currently operates at 18 locations in the UK, including the cities of Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol.
Bird was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.