MPs have given qualified backing to the legalisation of electric scooters, including privately owned ones, but warned that this should not be to the detriment of pedestrians.
In a report published today, E-scooters: pavement nuisance or transport innovation, the Transport Select Committee says that e-scooters have the potential to offer a low cost, accessible and environmentally friendly alternative to the private car.
However, while generally supporting the use of e-scooters, MPs have said that current rental trials and any plans for legalisation should not be to the detriment of pedestrians, particularly disabled people.
The committee is calling for robust enforcement measures to eliminate the pavement use of e-scooters, which the report says is dangerous and anti-social.
It says that if the Government decides to legalise privately owned e-scooters, the law should clearly prohibit their use on pavements and ensure that such enforcement measures are effective.
Further caveats in the report include calling for ‘a sensible and proportionate regulatory framework for the legal use of electric scooters, based firmly on evidence gained from current rental trials and from other countries’.
It says these trials should allow important evidence and data to determine the best way to legally incorporate both rental and privately owned e-scooters within the UK’s transport mix.
In addition, the report says the Department for Transport must encourage the use of e-scooters as a replacement short car journeys, rather than walking and cycling, warning, that it would be counter-productive if an uptake in e-scooters primarily replaced more active and healthy forms of travel.
Committee chair Huw Merriman said: ‘e-scooters have the potential to become an exciting and ingenious way to navigate our streets and get from place to place. If this gets people out of the car, reducing congestion and exercising in the open air, then even better.
‘We heard first-hand about the impact of e-scooters on pavements. We need to ensure that their arrival on our streets doesn’t make life more difficult for pedestrians, and especially disabled people.
‘Before proceeding with plans to legalise the use of e-scooters, local authorities and government must use the trials to monitor this closely, put enforcement measures in place and ensure they are effective in eliminating this behaviour.’