Cropped image of a man on an electric scooter

E-scooter trials will not require riders to have prior training

Image credit: Vladimirs Poplavskis | Dreamstime

Trials for the use of rental electric scooters in the UK will not require riders to be trained or wear a helmet, the Department for Transport (DfT) has said.

The proposals are part of a consultation created by DfT to allow pilot schemes to launch, which includes the legalisation of e-scooters.

The trials have been brought forward from next year to next month and have opened out to more areas across the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is hoped e-scooters will offer an “attractive alternative” to public transport amid the need for social distancing.

Currently, e-scooters have been banned in the UK on public roads and pavements, but the Government is amending road traffic regulations to enable them to be trialled.

The consultation document stated: “We think it is appropriate not to require formal training or testing”. It also said that it recommends riders wear a cycle helmet for e-scooter journeys, however, it is not planned to make this a mandatory requirement.

The document added that the speeds of the e-scooters would be limited to a maximum of 12.5mph.

The DfT said: “E-scooters could be a fast and clean way to travel that eases the burden on the transport network and allows for social distancing.

“Before we can decide whether to fully legalise them and determine the rules that should apply, we need to understand their impacts.

“That means gathering evidence on their safety, how people use them, whether the potential benefits can be realised, and how to manage the downsides.”

The DfT said it plans to run controlled trials, with local areas, starting trials much sooner and in many more places. “We are consulting on proposed regulations that would allow trials to begin and set the rules e-scooter users must follow.”

Many people throughout the UK already use e-scooters despite them being banned. And last summer, London's Metropolitan Police caught nearly 100 riders in a single week.

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