Written evidence submitted by Paul Turner
No, it is not up to date since it was written before e-scooters were a serious possibility. The United Kingdom has always been held back by its legislation. The position is analogous to the Locomotives Act 1865 which held up the implementation of the motor car in this country by applying standards designed for traction engines moving between fields and seeking to apply them to transport (such as requiring a person waving a red flag to walk 60 yards in front of the car, and limiting the speed to 4mph.
e-scooters have the potential to reduce congestion by allowing transport. The fact is that the current transport situation and likely requirements for physical distancing in the short to medium term means that large scale congestion is likely to be present for some considerable time. E-scooters have a clear part to play in reducing the demand on public transport and on private vehicles thus reducing the congestion that will otherwise occur. E-scooters also require much less energy per passenger mile.
e-scooters take up a similar amount of road space to bicycles and should be usable anywhere (urban or rural) wherever a bicycle can be used. I do not believe that there is any justification for treating e-scooters differently to electrically assisted cycles.
If they are to be limited to 25kph then they should be subject to the same requirements as bicycles. They have a similar weight, speed, acceleration, size, width and road space usage as a bicycle. There is no justification for treating them any differently.
They should be subject to similar regulations as apply to bicycles, with the addition of a speed limiter to ensure that they can travel no faster than 25kph and they should be limited to electrical propulsion.
To impose any requirement without also imposing them on cyclists will maintain an entirely inappropriate distinction between the two.
If larger faster e-scooters are to be permitted then there is scope for more extensive requirements .
Having visited Switzerland and Hamburg in the last year and hired a scooter and seen how helpful and normal it is and how helpful it is to travel around, I believe that the UK economy is being artificially held back by the failure to legalise e-scooters on the highway.
In those locations it is possible to hire an e-scooter without any training. They are smaller and safer than an electrically assisted bike which people can currently hire and ride without any training.