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E-scooters allowed on London’s roads from next month as new trial to begin

Lime is one of three E-scooter rental operators coming to London (Picture: PA)

An influx of e-scooters will be hitting roads in London next month when a trial rental scheme begins. Electric scooters will be available to rent in six boroughs – Ealing, Kensington and Chelsea, Canary Wharf, Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham and the City of London – with Tower Hamlets a ‘ride through’-only borough. Users may only ride on roads and in cycleways and they’ll have to take an e-learning safety course before they hire for the first time.

The scheme goes live on June 7 and will see London join towns and cities across the country including Bristol, Birmingham and Coventry in trying out whether electric scooters can be a viable way to travel on roads. It will ignite the debate about the safety of e-scooters, with many believing they are a hazard. Privately-owned e-scooters are currently banned from public roads and pavements in the UK, but they are an increasingly common sight. There have also been issues around where someone should leave their rental e-scooters after riding one.

In an extreme example a retired Bristol man was stunned to wake up and find more than 100 e-scooters dumped outside his house. Transport for London said the six core boroughs will ‘control parking locations for e-scooters, providing marked designated bays to protect against street clutter and ensure footways are kept free’. There will be between  60 and 150 e-scooters available to rent in each fully participating borough initially, with riders able to move freely across these boroughs and ‘ride-through’ areas. Speeds will be capped at 12.5mph and Dott, Lime and TIER have been signed up as the three operators for the 12-month trial.

The operators have been told to ensure their prices ‘take into account the needs of people on lower incomes’ but it has not yet been revealed how much the e-scooters will cost to rent. Lambeth and Southwark have also shown interest in joining the scheme, TfL said. The e-scooters will have lights at the front and back that remain permanently on. Police vowed to engage with riders and ‘where necessary’ enforce the law on their proper use. In Newcastle six students were taken to court and banned from the roads for drink-driving while riding e-scooters. –