Written evidence submitted by MCIA



This response has been prepared by MCIA, the UK trade association for the supply side of the Powered Light Vehicle (PLV) Industry, which includes Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs) such as motorcycles, scooters and mopeds. Under EU regulations, all PLVs are referred to as L-Category vehicles. This industry is estimated to contribute over £7 billion to the UK economy annually. 

MCIA welcomes the Committee’s call for written evidence and believes that the L-Category industry is well placed to assist delivery of cleaner and zero emission transport as the country moves towards a zero carbon future.

MCIA has taken considerable interest in the emergence and development of micromobility and has noted the recent global phenomenon of e-scooters in particular. These are ad hoc vehicle types which, unlike L category vehicles, are in the main not subject to detailed technical nor user regulation. As a result, much has still to be learned about the safety of both the products themselves and how they should be regulated. Proper technical and product safety regulations have yet to be established, with differing regulation regimes evident from country to country.

MCIA’s Chief Executive, Tony Campbell, would be delighted to provide evidence in person to a hearing of the Committee.

Regulatory Development – a Matter of Concern

The Government’s announcement of the Future of Transport Regulatory Review Call for Evidence marked an opportunity to start the process of properly identifying the place of e-scooters in transport and also to define proper technical and user regulation.

MCIA has submitted a technical and use framework discussion document, which sets out parameters for serious discussion with Government and stakeholders about the level and adaptability of future regulation that would allow for the evolution of these vehicle types. This document, (The Route to Tomorrow’s Journeys: L0-A and L0-B Micromobility Regulation Discussion Document) can be downloaded from This submission refers to this document throughout and it should be read in tandem with our evidence to the Committee.

In summary, MCIA proposes technical regulations as part of a UK national regulation, which is based on a simplified version of EU Whole Vehicle Type Approval. MCIA also proposes standards for usage regulations, insurance, licensing etc.

Two vehicle types are catered for within MCIA’s proposals. This allows for evolution of current products and means that regulation will be robust and stand the test of time.

The consultation on the Future of Transport Regulatory Review has yet to close, yet the Secretary of State chose to launch a further consultation on May 18th, which seeks to bring forward the date of trials for rental e-scooters.

This is unfortunate, as the new consultation appears to pre-empt the outcome of the Regulatory Review, proposing scant technical and user standards which appear to be a fait-accompli.

Despite assurances from the Government to the contrary, this new consultation on legalising rental e-scooter trials, appears to pre-determine the outcome of the original consultation, without a full and proper discussion about, and development of, appropriate regulation. It will effectively set in stone expectations of what regulation surrounds the wider use of e-scooters, and the types of machine that can be used both during and beyond the trials.

The making of regulation in this manner, effectively short-cutting proper process, is both highly unusual, risks unintended consequences and is of considerable concern to MCIA.


Is the legislation for e-scooters is up to date and appropriate?

There is virtually no legislation for e-scooters at present.  The use of e-scooters on the road and pavement is illegal. It will be necessary to make several legislative changes if e-scooters are to be used as a viable transport choice.

The DfT laid out some suggested regulatory standards on Page 24 of their Future of Transport regulatory review. These implied certain technical regulatory areas were under consideration, but MCIA did not feel that these had gone far enough to ensure the safe use of e-scooters and prepared the more detailed Micromobility Regulation Discussion Document referred to above. MCIA also put on the table a proposal for two defined categories of e-scooter with differing power restrictions, which would be created via national regulation and linked to UK Type Approval (UKTA). The two categories are:

As previously mentioned, the original consultation has yet to close, but in the 18th May consultation on rental e-scooters, the DfT has gone much further and has already set in stone what they now consider to be the definition of an e-scooter. Thus:

We will define an e-scooter as a motor vehicle which:

The consultation also proposes a maximum limit of 350Watt.

To achieve this, and in agreement with trial areas, we will issue vehicle orders under s44 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 for vehicles assessed as being suitable to participate in trials.[i]

Whilst the proposed trial is for hire e-scooters, it does nothing to address the current boom in private e-scooter use, which is as stated unregulated and encouraging illegal use.

MCIA has considerable concerns over the lack of technical regulations proposed in the 18th May consultation. No definition of product safety has been proposed by the Government in this consultation, which runs contrary to the Government’s approach to other vehicle types.

Despite proposing a loose technical framework for hire scooters in the consultation, no specific questions have been posed about this to seek views.  Indeed, the Government’s proposals in this area short circuits proper regulation, which is of great concern.

MCIA considers it essential that a national type approval scheme for e-scooters is developed to ensure that they are robust, safe and suitable for the roads that they will be ridden on.

Whilst MCIA understands the need for urgency in response to the Covid19 pandemic, it cannot support the introduction of ad hoc vehicle types being legalised for use on the public highway, unless a framework of sensible and appropriate safety and technical regulation underpins their sale and use. Seeking to ‘rush’ the process, through the application of only partially thought through provision, is likely to result in unintended consequences, not least in relation to user safety

MCIA also makes the following observations about the hire/rental trials consultation:

MCIA urges the withdrawal of the ‘Legalising Rental e-Scooter Trial- Defining e-Scooters and Rules for Their Use’ consultation and proposals and for the Government to focus instead on the full completion of the process initiated by The Future of Transport Regulatory Review. This should be completed before taking further action in the area of trials and defining the technical and user definitions for e-scooters.

We would be very grateful if the Committee would question Ministers closely on the above concerns and in particular, explore the process by which the 18th May proposals came to be made and who the DfT consulted in the drawing them up, including any associated meetings with Ministers from external stakeholders. It appears that the proposed standards have been written to ensure that they match the machines that will be made available for the trial.  MCIA feel that standards should be driven by public safety rather than compatibility and profit.

As mentioned, MCIA favour introduction of more robust regulation and propose creating two new vehicle categories, to cover the e-scooters most used now, while allowing regulatory space for future product development and evolution. Our discussion document has been provided to DfT but apparently largely ignored within the 18th May consultation document on e-scooter trials. It seems that quick fixes are taking precedence over genuine matters of product and user safety.


MCIA’s proposals follow the international terminology and norms of the L-Category of Powered Light Vehicles (PLVs), which encompass regulated, powered light two, three and four wheeled vehicles. The main difference is that MCIA proposes a UK-only regulation, which offers a robust approach to established regulatory norms and could lead the way as international regulations are developed in this area.


What extent do e-scooters have positive benefits, for instance relating to congestion and promoting more sustainable forms of transport?

E-scooters will undoubtedly bring benefits in terms of congestion and air quality improvements and add an alternative to public transport, walking and cycling, which is especially important during the current pandemic.

MCIA supports the idea of the right vehicle for the right journey and therefore there is a role to play for e-scooters providing they are appropriately regulated. 

Rather than rushing through quick legislation, MCIA urge Government to support the PLV market that is already in existence, a market with fully regulated registered riders and machines. These range from lightweight electric powered two wheelers to low emission commuter mopeds, scooters and medium powered utility machines for longer distance, practical transport.

Where in the urban environment can e-scooters be used (e.g. road, pavement, cycle lanes), and how could this impact on other road users and pedestrians, including people who have visual impairments or use mobility aids?

MCIA feels that e-scooters should not be used on roads with a speed limit greater than 30mph. They should not be used on the pavements at all. In addition to the safety concerns for disabled road users, there is also the speed differential between the e-scooters and pedestrians.

E-Scooters would be appropriate for cycle lanes. In the MCIA document referred to above, two different categories of e-scooter (L0-A and L0-B) are proposed. The L0-B category is higher powered and would extend the vehicle range. This would be appropriate for cycle super highway infrastructure, or the new pop up cycle lanes with physical separation.

Should there be advice or compulsory requirements to use specific safety equipment when using an e-scooter?

Public safety must be paramount. The potential for accidents could be increased by the significant speed difference with existing road traffic and the instability caused to micro mobility users by passing vehicles. Road surfaces pose a high risk for micromobility vehicle users as the smaller wheels make them more susceptible to impacts of potholes and uneven road surfaces. However, this is not unique to micro mobility, cycles and Powered Two Wheelers are also affected.  Users of any mode of transport should be aware of road conditions and wear appropriate protective equipment and safety wear.

MCIA disagrees with government proposals to only suggest the voluntary use of cycle helmets. These should be mandatory. Advice for eye protection, gloves and clothing can be developed in partnership with various stakeholders.

Should there be safety and environmental regulation for the build of e-scooters, and what this might entail?

As MCIA outlines in its own proposal, we believe that e-scooters should follow a new UK domestic Type Approval regulation, under the forthcoming UKTA. This will allow assurances relating to conformity of production, UNCE regulations on electrical safety and a fit for purpose statement by each manufacturer to ensure products are robust and as safe as possible.

A lack of infrastructure for e-scooters is also being reported as compounding the safety risks of use. Smart Cities Dive reported online (As scooters go mainstream, infrastructure falls behind):

“Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms promised an infrastructure overhaul, writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the city would install temporary barriers, painted demarcations and "any tool we can find to complement" its 188 miles of dedicated bike and scooter lanes.”

Not only is the issue of non-dedicated space being available creating risk, there is also the infrastructure issues regarding the condition of the current roads where they are intended to be used.  Downtown LA Law state online (Lime and Bird Scooter Accidents Caused by Potholes):

“Scooters are two-wheel vehicles; therefore, they can be easily thrown off balance. Potholes, in specific, have proven to be dangerous for scooter riders. When hitting a pothole, scooters and their riders could fall or lose control – leading to an even more dangerous collision. Potholes appear in road surfaces usually to normal wear; in many cases, potholes appear after heavy rain, as water can severely affect road surfaces.”

There is also a high risk of tampering with e-scooter systems to increase performance and MCIA has anecdotal evidence to show that this is happening already. To mitigate this risk, anti-tampering regulations are essential to ensure that vehicle users cannot increase the speed and power beyond the limits at manufacture (intended maximum performance limits). 

Devices that bypass speed restrictors fitted to e-bikes are freely available on the internet (for example, which enable speeds of greater than 25km/h and power in excess of 250W.  These devices effectively change the e-bike into an L-1 category moped, which should be subject to technical, licensing and registration requirements.

Although the information above may not all be specific to the UK, the message and applicability is nonetheless valid for consideration within the UK.  Clearly, the size of the vehicle, the potential e-scooter speed, the infrastructure, the use within a crowded environment, where vehicles of numerous sizes and capabilities added to the very small level of protection for the rider, creates a high risk environment for accidents, injuries, fatalities, property damage and theft & vandalism. For these reasons e-scooter trials require proper consideration and not rushed legislation

What is the experience of other countries where e-scooters are legal on the roads?

There are numerous reports from other countries about both the advantages and disadvantages of e-scooters.

Many of the reports from countries such as Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, South Carolina, Arizona, California as well as South Korea and Mexico/Latin America focus on the safety issues. highlights some safety concerns in a number of countries:

“…the scooters' recurring role in traffic accidents has led to a regulatory pushback in Spain. The country counted 273 accidents, three of which were fatal, in 2018, but authorities suspect the real number is much higher.[ii]

“A Salt Lake City, Utah, emergency ward noted that injuries jumped by 161 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.”[iii]

Almost without exception, the introduction, or legalisation of e-scooters around the world has resulted in some increases in casualties and on occasion, deaths. This is likely to be the case with the introduction of any new mode of transport, and it confirms the need for greater road user awareness across all modes. In addition, the cycle routes and road network must be of a good standard to cater for these modes.

Other reports have highlighted e-scooters being abandoned and causing issues on pavements for pedestrians and disabled road users. This became an such an issue in Paris that they were banned from being parked or left on pavements, due to the conflict over the use of public space.[iv]

INRIX Research produced a report[v] which focussed specifically on identifying markets that would benefit from micromobility services. Within the report they quoted the McKinsey Institute estimates:

“McKinsey Institute estimates the micromobility market size to be between $200 and $300 billion by 2030, and if deployed and managed effectively, will enable time savings, better travel experiences and reduced travel costs for people. Cities will experience decreased vehicle emissions, potentially lower congestion and greater accessibility for non-drivers.”

The INRIX Research report highlights major cities across a number of countries which could benefit from a micromobility existence due to the percentage of trips which are less than 3 miles. In the UK, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Sheffield were all identified as having between 64% and 69% of vehicle trips less than 3 miles.

In Germany, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne were identified with vehicle trips less than 3 miles ranging from 51% to 60%.

May 2020




[i] DfT Consultation,