6 JULY 2020


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Article from BTNews 6 JULY 2020


It became legal to ride commercial/rental e-scooters on Great Britain's roads from Saturday 4 July. 

The speed limit is 15.5mph (25km/h), and users need a driving licence to use on public roads.

Last week the Parliament Transport Select Committee looked into this form of transport (A bit late in the day – Editor) with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) saying that the Government's safeguards, had failed to assuage its fears.

Eleanor Southwood, Chair of the RNIB board, told the Committee: "It's really clear that even with all of the safeguards… we do consider e-scooters to be a real and genuine threat to the ability of blind and partially sighted people to move around independently and safely."

Other witnesses at the hearing said the top speed and weight of the e-scooters were higher than they should be.  Private e-scooters will remain illegal.

Electric scooters are much quieter than cars, she said. And added that evidence of pedal bikes being used on pavements suggested that "without robust enforcement," e-scooters would probably be used on pedestrian walkways.

"We were hoping that speeds would be limited, ideally to as close to walking as possible, but if not, to an absolute maximum of 12.5mph," Ms Southwood said.

Philip Darnton, Director of the Bicycle Association, told politicians his group had no set view on e-scooters, because some of its members were fiercely against them while others sold them.

Two academics spoke.

"I can see the benefits in terms of environment, and health, and also social inclusion," Graeme Sherriff from the University of Salford said.  "It depends on the rest of the system in a way, but they could very much encourage people away from cars."

Jillian Anable, a transport expert from the University of Leeds, questioned the need for users to have a driving licence.

The Department for Transport has now published a “Guidance”.


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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

David Starkie, London

How do you tell a private e-scooter (illegal) from a rented one? Recently saw stats that 20k cyclist/pedestriansare killed or injured each year. Does Health and Safety have a view on the risks. It is keen to enforce hotel regulations like:'the water from this tap is hot'!

Godfrey Smith, Highgate

E-scooters are getting a great deal of coverage. Are MP’s allowed to use them in Westminster’s Great Hall?