E-scooters will hit the streets of London this summer, thanks to a new rental trial.
TfL and London councils are collaborating on a year-long of rental e-scooters across London. Dott, Lime and TIER are the trio of e-scooter operators that have been chosen to take part in the trial, which will begin TODAY (June 7). It’s likely to be the largest trial of its kind in the UK, and will provide TfL with a better understanding of the e-scooters’ impact on London’s roads, with several London boroughs plus Canary Wharf and the City of London earmarked for the trial areas. They’ll certainly get summer off to a fast start!
This project is actually part of a wider initiative across TfL, London councils, and the government, who legalised rental trials of e-scooters last year. The aim is to make greener transport options more accessible to Londoners, in order to improve air quality and decrease congestion. In theory, if the trial takes off, it could help prevent a car-led recovery from the pandemic, something that’s been identified as a key priority of Sadiq Khan.
The trial will begin cautiously, with plenty of safety measures in place to keep riders and passers-by safe. The participating operators were chosen for their ability to “meet strict safety requirements and high operating standards”, and safety standards will go further than those required at a national level. All e-scooters will be capped to a maximum speed of 12.5mph, will feature lights at the front and rear (that are always on when the scooter is being rented), and audible warning systems that riders can use without adjusting their grip.
Rider will need to take an e-learning safety course before they hire an e-scooter for the first time, and you’ll only be permitted to ride them on roads and cycleways. Pavements will be completely off limits. Operators have also been told to ensure that rental prices account for those Londoners on lower incomes, and discounts will also be available to key workers.
The trial run will take place in the following areas: Canary Wharf, the City of London, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond upon Thames, and Kensington and Chelsea. Tower Hamlets is not part of the trial, but has been designated a ‘ride-through’ area in which riders can move through, but can’t stop or start e-scooter rides. Other boroughs may join the trials at a later date; Lambeth and Southwark are two such boroughs to express an interest at this stage. Between 60 and 150 e-scooters will be allocated to each area at first, with the number for each operator increasing or decreasing depending on the results.
Participating areas will control parking locations for e-scooters, with designated parking bays keeping the roads and pavements free of abandoned scooters. The scooters will also use geo-fencing technology to ensure they can’t be left outside of designated spaces and boroughs with riders incurring charges. Similar technology will also let boroughs specify ‘go-slow’ areas, where the scooters’ top speed is capped at 8mph. Oh, and the use of privately own e-scooters on public roads is still prohibited, so don’t get any ideas!
The chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville, said “The rental e-scooter trial has the potential to support our city-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic and boost London’s green recovery. It will be important to see how this new service impacts London’s existing transport network and carbon emissions and how inclusive it is of the travel needs of all Londoners – especially those on lower incomes.”