Electric scooter trials in London will start on June 7, the city's transport authority and local councils announced today, May 18.
Three scooter companies have been selected to offer rentals for up to 12 months as part of the pilot program: Tier, Lime, and Dott. Meanwhile, privately owned electric scooters will still be considered illegal to ride on streets.
Electric scooters in London
The selected companies will initially offer scooters to rent across six local authorities and boroughs in London; they are Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing, Chelsea and Kensington, Richmond upon Thames, the City of London, and Canary Warf.
While rentals will not be available in Tower Hamlets, Londoners will be able to ride their rented electric scooters through the borough.
Lambeth and Southwark boroughs are also seeking to be included in the trial, as per Tech Crunch.
The list that was revealed is just a fraction of the 32 boroughs that make up the UK's capital. London's transport authority Transport for London, or TfL, said more areas are expected to join the trial as it progresses.
While rented electric scooters have become a common sight across a lot of cities around the world, this form of transportation is still not fully embraced in London. Until recently, electric scooters were completely illegal to ride in the UK. It was only in July 2020 that the law about it changed, with the government allowing trials of electric scooter rentals.
However, outside of the pilot programs, privately owned scooters are still deemed illegal to ride on public roads, according to My London.
Effects of the Pandemic
TfL's announcements cited the pandemic as the main reason for the importance of the new way of transport. Instead of having people flock to cars as a way of avoiding crowded buses and trains, authorities want electric scooters to offer riders an environmentally friendly and socially distanced way of traveling the city.
Each electric scooter rental company will have to comply with numerous safety requirements to qualify to offer rentals in the city.
The speeds will be capped at 12.5 miles per hour, and scooters will be required to have always-on front and rear lights.
Rental companies are also required to have audible warning systems that riders can operate without having to take their hands off of the handlebars.
The scooters will also be equipped with geofencing to make sure that they are correctly parked in designated locations, and operators will have to collect them if they are not.
Electric scooters can be ridden on roads and cycle paths but not on sidewalks. When the government announced the start of the trials in 2020, it said that riders would have to be over the age of 16 and need to have a provisional car, motorcycle, or moped license to be allowed to ride.
According to The Verge, riders will also need to take an e-learning safety course before hiring their first scooter in the capital.
London is not the first city in the UK to launch its electric scooter trials. Zag has compiled a list of more than 50 trials that have been launched across the country over the past year.
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Written by Sophie Webster