E-Scooters – A bit of fun or a mode of transport?

E-Scooters – A bit of fun or a mode of transport?

Having never been a skateboarder and after injuring myself far too many times on a snowboard, I was sceptical about e-scooters; mainly because I was worried that I would fall off, especially with all the negative press about e-scooter accidents. But on a recent visit to Cambridge, I was reliably informed that it’s the second-best way to travel around the city.

How to hire an e-scooter

E-scooter hire companies have cropped up in a few cities on various trials with agreement from the local councils. Each trial seems to come with its own App and different rules and regulations.

In Cambridge it’s Voi and in Milton Keynes there’s Lime, Spin and Ginger. All you need to get going is the appropriate App, a method of payment, your driving licence, and a helmet (although I don’t believe I saw anyone with a helmet).

Then you just need to find an e-scooter! Luckily the App tells you where they are located and sometimes how much battery they have remaining. In Cambridge, there are specific parking spots that you must use for the e-scooters (pick-up and drop-off), but in Milton Keynes it appeared to be a ‘leave it where you feel like’ kind of operation, only with some areas that you can park them.

You have to unlock the e-scooters with the App and then you’re off to go wherever you like, within reason! The scooters can travel up to approx. 20mph and some providers enforce a ‘slow’ mode in pedestrian-heavy areas. You are not allowed to use e-scooters on footways, but cycleways and lower speed roads are generally ok. Milton Keynes is crisscrossed with cycleways and shared surfaces, so is the perfect environment for e-scooters and it makes zipping between hotel, shops and football stadium quick and easy.

Are e-scooters easy to use?

Having travelled over 20km on e-scooters in Cambridge and Milton Keynes, from my experience, they are very user-friendly and easy to use. As long as you are aware of your surroundings, obey traffic laws, are polite to others around you and don’t do anything stupid, then I found them fun, safe and a great alternative to walking / cycling and driving for short journeys.

Will e-scooters become legal?

The Government has extended the e-scooter trials until 2024 when a decision will need to be made whether to make them legal. For me, it would be the perfect way to get to work when it is too hot to cycle; 5 miles along the canal in the morning and evening sounds great!

How do you feel about e-scooters? Do you think you would feel safe on one on the road? Should pedestrian and cycle guidance include e-scooters? I’d be interested to know your thoughts.

Let me know by emailing: onevett@mayerbrown.co.uk

You can also find out further information about e-scooters in our blog  The adoption of e-scooters in the UK - are we ready?

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