London e-scooter trials set to launch in spring 2021
Transport for London has called for e-scooter rental companies to enter London’s streets for a trial period, due to start in the spring of 2021.
In July 2020, the Department for Transport outlined the conditions for UK’s electric scooter trials. The aim of these trials is to provide people with another more eco-friendly alternative method of transport to using their cars.
As people became fearful of using public transport due to the coronavirus pandemic, both cycling and the use of private vehicles have increased. This caused the trials to be accelerated in an attempt to reduce the number of private cars on the road.
London will be joining existing trials that have been running in many cities around the UK. Like in other cities, riding private e-scooters on UK roads and pavements will be illegal in London, with only rental scooters permitted for use.
E-scooters are classed as vehicles, and so riders are subject to a list of conditions. These include the rider having at least a provisional driving license and being over the age of 16. A total ban on riding e-scooters under the influence of drink or drugs is also in place in all trial cities.
“Safety will be our number one priority during this e-scooter rental trial, which will be critical to providing us the data and insights we need to determine whether e-scooters are a viable part of a greener and healthier future for London. We’ll continue to take the interests of all Londoners into account as we work towards starting the trial next year,” said Michael Hurwitz, TfL’s director of transport Innovation.
Do you need insurance to ride rental e-scooters?
As e-scooters are considered vehicles, all riders must have at least third party insurance in order to use them on UK roads. For the rental trials, the insurance will be provided as part of the deal by the rental company.
In Tees Valley, the north eastern English city chosen to host the UK’s first ever e-scooter trial, e-scooter company, Ginger, teamed with insurer Zego to offer insurance cover for riders.
This trial may end up leading to the legalisation of private e-scooters for use on UK roads. In that case, riders will need to arrange their own e-scooter insurance.