Yesterday Transport Minister Rachel Maclean MP dealt with two written questions on what the government is doing to raise public awareness that the use of privately owned escooters is and will remain illegal. Written questions are, in my view at least, slightly obscure and hardly the best channel through which important public messages would be likely to reach a broad audience. So while her messages (at these links 97467 & 97468) are definitely important, accurate and timely, it is a little disappointing that they are, frankly, buried in the sort of Parliamentary minutiae that really only policy nerds (like me) might pick up on.
I spent 24 hours in Paris at the end of the summer and e-scooters seemed to be everywhere. With parts of the metro suspended for improvements I was tempted to use one – scan the QR code, get the app and go – but decided to leave that to the locals, at least for the time being.
How, if at all, to permit and effectively regulate the use of e-scooters in public spaces turns out to be a very topical question. Just this weekend the French authorities implemented new rules bringing e-scooters into the highway code. These include an age limit of at least 12, prohibition of use on footpaths, speed restrictions and insurance arrangements. The French government’s three page infographic about its new law is available here (in French).
Back in the UK, matters are evolving more slowly. At the beginning of August, the House of Commons Library produced a short paper E-scooters: Why are they not legal on UK roads? which sets out the existing regulatory barriers to their use on UK roads and pavements and hints at a possible government consultation later this year.