LONDON, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) — E-scooters should be legalised in Britain within the next 18 months, provided they can be kept off pavements, the House of Commons (lower house of British parliament) Transport Committee has said in a report.
Noting that Britain is the last major economy in Europe where the scooters are banned everywhere apart from private land, the committee said e-scooters have the potential to offer a low cost, accessible and environmentally friendly alternative to the private car.
But while supporting the introduction and use of e-scooters, the committee advised that current rental trials and any plans for legalisation should not be to the detriment of pedestrians, particularly disabled people.
“If the government supports the committee’s recommendation and decides to legalise privately owned e-scooters, the law should clearly prohibit their use on pavements and ensure that such enforcement measures are effective in eliminating this behaviour,” it added.
Several areas, including Teesside, Hartlepool, Milton Keynes Borough, Northamptonshire and the West Midland have now signed up for the trial phase ahead of a potential national roll out.
Committee chair Huw Merriman said e-scooters have the potential to become an exciting and ingenious way to navigate streets in Britain and get from place to place.
He added: “If this gets people out of the car, reducing congestion and exercising in the open air, then even better. We support the government’s desire to include e-scooters in the UK’s transport mix and the current rental trials will provide a crucial evidence base for future legislation.”
The committee said users should not be required to have a driving licence for either rental or private use of the scooters, and it wants the British Department of Transport to monitor e-scooter accidents.
It also emphasised the importance of designing a system to prevent “street clutter” whereby the dockless scooters are left all over the pavement causing a hazard.
In 2018, Chinese dockless bike rental firm Mobike pulled out of Manchester due to the volume of vehicles stolen, vandalised or dumped. The transport committee said e-scooter “parking hubs” should be considered to avoid the problem of e-scooters obstructing the pavement. Enditem