E-scooters may be legalised in the UK

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The Government could soon allow e-scooters on UK roads, as it launches a consultation into the future of transport technology.

While e-scooters are currently illegal to ride in the UK, they are widely available to buy and many riders have been flaunting the rules. Sales jumped 50 per cent last year.

The Government consultation will look at whether to set a minimum age and vehicle standards, as well as insurance requirements.

The review will also consider if local authorities should have extra powers to manage the impacts of e-scooters on public space, for example where they can be parked.

Other proposals being considered for modern technology to help improve journeys include conducting medical deliveries by drone and new public transport booking systems.

A £90m funding boost is promised that will lead to trials of “new transport innovation” in three new ‘future transport zones’.

The zones will provide real-world testing for experts, allowing them to work with a range of local bodies such as councils, hospitals, airports and universities to test new ways to transport people and goods.

They will be located in Portsmouth and Southampton, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), Derby and Nottingham, and the West Midlands.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK is “on the cusp of a transport revolution” as emerging technologies are “ripping up the rulebook”.

“Our groundbreaking 'Future of Transport' programme marks the biggest review of transport laws in a generation and will pave the way for exciting new transport technology to be tested, cementing the UK’s position as a world-leading innovator.

“This review will ensure we understand the potential impacts of a wide range of new transport types, such as e-scooters, helping to properly inform any decisions on legalisation.”

Medical supplies from clinics on the Isle of Wight will be carried to hospitals on the mainland by drones, in a pilot scheme which will save time compared with transporting items on ferries and roads.

WECA will test self-driving cars to move people between Bristol airport, the northern suburbs of Bristol and central Bath.

The Government will also consult on how to test emerging technology in bus, taxi and private hire vehicle services to ease journey planning and payment. This includes making it easier for buses to operate on-demand and enable people to book journeys across multiple modes of transport in a single transaction.

Last summer, the Metropolitan Police caught nearly 100 riders using e-scooters in London in a single week.

YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge became the first person in the UK to be killed while riding an e-scooter when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea, south London, in July last year.

Meanwhile, a study has found that e-scooters may not be as environmentally friendly as other urban transport options. 

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