There have been 31 trials across 54 regions involving more than 66,000 3-scooters. Around 13 million trips have been taken, covering 18.5 million miles, by around a million individual users.
Baroness Vere also highlighted measures taken to improve safety in those trials, including limiting speeds to 15.5mph and power to 5 watts, requiring rental firms to provide insurance and users to have a full or provisional driving licence, and making it illegal to use e-scooters on pavements.
In addition, the DfT has set out minimum safety standards for e-scooters, including the requirements for lights and a warning noise, the use of data-sharing and training apps for users.
In response to problems that have occurred during e-scooter trials, Baroness Vere said the DfT has added dedicated parking bays and docking stations in some areas, increased the level of driving licence checks rental firms must undertake and introducing uniform ID plates for trial scooters.
Baroness Vere said that there was not yet enough reliable evidence available to judge the safety of e-scooters against other modes of transport, adding that “evidence to date suggests that the rate of injuries are broadly similar when compared with pedal cycles.” She said that they were investigating concerns over e-scooter fires, and engaging with disabled groups to make e-scooters “as inclusive by design as possible”.
E-scooters divide opinion among Lords
The debate in the House of Lords was tabled by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, who suggested that e-scooters either need to be banned or heavily regulated. She raised concerns about illegal usage of private e-scooters, the safety of the machines, and the dangers they present to pedestrians, particularly the disabled. She also questioned the economic and environmental benefits of e-scooters.
Speaking during the debate, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “There seems very little evidence that they will replace cars. The main users are young people, and they will be substituting for bicycles, including electric bikes, non-electric scooters and public transport. All of these are less dangerous, and cycling is better for your health.”