Electric scooters to go on hire in Portsmouth as government looks at making them road legal

A TRIAL will see electric scooters made available for hire in Portsmouth as the government looks to allow the devices on roads.

Monday, 16th March 2020, 6:00 am

The so-called e-scooters, powered by electric motors, have soared in popularity over the past two years but are currently not allowed on pavements or roads.

Portsmouth will become one of four Transport Mobility Zones to host a hire trial for them once legislation changes.

The Department for Transport is leading a consultation on what rules are required to allow them to be trialled safely.

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A person riding an electric scooter in Westminster, London. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

It covers areas related to their safe use, including a minimum age for riders, speed limits, licensing, insurance and helmets.

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Meanwhile other parameters will look at design standards, whether they should be allowed in cycle lanes and what powers local authorities should have to manage the firms which own the e-scooters.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth City Council’s leader, said their availability could boost the city’s transport offering as long as they are ‘ridden safely’.

‘I think it’s potentially a really good way of getting people out of their cars, but we have to make sure it's done safely,’ he said.

‘Evidently people shooting up and down the pavement at great speed is very unsafe and inappropriate.’

The transport secretary, MP Grant Shapps, said the government review into e-scooters comes as vehicles like them are ‘ripping up the rulebook’ of traditional transport.

‘Our groundbreaking Future of Transport programme marks the biggest review of transport laws in a generation and will pave the way for exciting new transport technology to be tested, cementing the UK's position as a world-leading innovator,’ he said.

‘This review will ensure we understand the potential impacts of a wide range of new transport types such as e-scooters, helping to properly inform any decisions on legalisation.’

It is understood no date or location has yet been set for the e-scooter hire scheme, which will also be rolled out to the West of England Combined Authority, Derby, Nottingham and the West Midlands.

As previously reported, Portsmouth is one of the most dangerous cities in the United Kingdom for riders on two wheels – with more than 400 cycling near-misses logged in just six months between 2018 and 2019.