Written evidence submitted by Yawboard Limited
I am writing on behalf of Yawboard Limited, a UK company that designs and manufactures electric and manual scooters.
I will address each area of research below:
The current legislation in the UK is not up to date.
While it is understandable that electric scooters are classified as personal light electric vehicles and that the current laws requires taxation and insurance to be legally allowed to use public highways, the fact that these devices are an extremely useful and efficient mode of transport and that it is currently not possible to tax or insure them, shows that something needs to change.
Infrastructure and transport options have changed greatly since the rules guiding use law was introduced in the Highway Act 1835 and Road Traffic Act 1988, an up to date review on this is required.
There are a huge number of benefits that can be gained from the introduction of e-scooters in the UK
Reduction in city congestion – Spacious cars will be replaced with vehicles with a much smaller footprint
Parking infrastructure reduction – Land currently used for parked cars can be beneficially reassigned
Reduction in pollution – Cleaner air for everyone to enjoy
Reduction of injuries to cyclists – Fewer cars on the streets and increased awareness of smaller road users will improve cyclist safety
Reduction of peak time public transport usage – Overcrowding on London’s public transport systems will reduce as commuters will be more likely to travel by scooter
Legislation will clearly need to look carefully at where e-scooters will be allowed to ride.
Our opinion is as follows:
Road – E-scooters to be allowed on all public highways with a speed limit up to 30mph. It may be necessary to review some roads with an existing limit of 40mph, but only if there is no alternative route or option of cycle lane.
There will be some adjustment required by other road users to adapt to e-scooter on the roads. While their size and road positioning will be similar to cyclists, acceleration speed and the inability to ride over potholes are different and therefore some behaviours will be dissimilar and will need to be allowed for by existing users.
Pavement – E-Scooters should be banned from all pavements. As seen in some other countries, there may be some areas where it is required to use a pavement as the roads in that location would pose greater risk. It would be important to include clear signage to reduce the maximum speed or to require users to dismount and walk with the scooter on these routes.
It is very important that any pedestrian areas that are deemed necessary for e-scooter use are reviewed in detail as there should not be an impact on ANY pedestrians following changes in legislation.
Cycle lanes - E-scooters should be allowed to use cycle lanes with the same rules an cyclists.
Existing users will need to be aware of the size, acceleration and braking capabilities of scooters but should be able to use these areas with little adjustment.
Helmets should be a requirement for e-scooter users on public highways.
To ensure the safety of users and others
A maximum speed limit should be imposed of around 18mph
A minimum age of 16 years old to ride e-scooters
Lights must be present if used at night
A specific test should be crated for each model of scooter to be legal in the UK. This should include:
It will be important to introduce any new legislation gradually with test areas to trial usage, lessons learnt from this will be vital in the success of rolling this out nationally.
From the existing shared scooter culture that is seen in many other European and American cities, it is our opinion that shared scooters in UK cities would not only be a nuisance by blocking and littering pathways, but they can also encourage underage, novice and sometimes intoxicated users to ride on the streets. It is far safer and cleaner to encourage safe and responsible usage of privately owned scooters.