E-scooter company calls on Government to set date for law change

E-scooters: Anne McIntosh calls for clarity on rules

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E-scooter trials are currently underway in almost 30 areas across the UK, with Voi saying it is helping to revolutionise sustainable transport options across the UK. Voi, which is the largest e-scooter hire company in the UK, says delaying the law changes any longer could put jobs at risk and hamper investment.

Shared e-scooter schemes are run as trials set up by the Government to provide a new form of sustainable, easy to use and affordable transport to help local authorities reach their net zero targets.

Two-and-a-half years after setting up its first scheme, Voi has seen nearly 1.2 million people take 21.5 million rides, replacing over eight million car journeys.

It has generated more than £50million across local economies in the cities Voi operates in the UK in 2022 alone. 

But gains made by the micromobility industry could be put at risk if the Government is unable to give greater clarity about when legislation will be brought forward, Voi has said.

Speaking at the Transport Select Committee on Wednesday, Matthew Pencharz, head of public policy for Voi, issued the warning.

He said: “Almost three years after the trials were first started, the demand for e-scooters is proven with Voi alone having 21 million rides, replacing over eight million car journeys.

“However, the industry doesn’t have certainty after May next year when the trials are currently due to end. 

“Legislation will allow more cities and towns to use e-scooters as a sustainable method of transport for their communities, providing a firmer footing for the industry and the jobs and investment connected with it.”

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He called on the Government to follow through with its commitment to create a new, light zero-emission vehicle category for e-scooters.

At present, electric scooters are subject to the same regulations as motor vehicles.

The UK is one of the only countries in Europe which subjects e-scooters to the same levels of regulation as cars.

This is despite e-scooters being a fraction of the size, weight, power, and speed of standard motor vehicles.

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A new vehicle category should eliminate the need for all riders to have either provisional or full driving licences, opening up micromobility to more riders. 

It was suggested that the insurance required for an e-scooter could be brought in line with the regulations in place for electric bikes.

This would benefit all as insurance companies could create policies which are better suited to e-scooters.

Currently, operators involved in e-scooter and e-bike trials must provide Motor Third Party Liability insurance, as is the case for all motor vehicles.

Mr Pencharz said Government guidance should be updated to provide a more detailed framework on the management of e-scooter schemes.

It is hoped this would detail the need for set governance structures, data-driven decision making and clear goals at the local level.

Voi operates England’s most successful scheme in Bristol, with further experience operating across 18 e-scooter and e-bike markets across the UK.

Two out of three shared e-scooter rides are on Voi scooters across the UK trials.

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