Our friends in the UK are preparing to take e-scooters to their heart and we can’t wait. With attention turning away from Brexit, the UK is set to legalize e-scooters and isn’t hanging about. A consultation will begin this month, followed quickly by pilots in various locations according to The Times.
Right across Europe, we have seen people enjoy riding electric scooters, whether for fun or to make essential journeys quickly and conveniently. Yet decades-old laws made it illegal to ride personal electric vehicles, including e-scooters, on UK roads.
Given that private sales of e-scooters have soared in the UK in the last few months, this was becoming a real challenge for both police and policymakers. While scooters remain illegal it is impossible either to insist on certain safety standards or build the sort of infrastructure that will best protect riders.
For a country that has a thriving tech industry and wants to be seen as an innovator when it comes to mobility, the UK risked falling behind.
The UK’s move is part of a bigger movement across the continent. Voi predicts cities will ban cars from city centers and that driving SUVs will become as unfashionable as smoking.
Voi is delighted with the news that the UK will push ahead with consultation and we will participate fully, giving the benefit of our experience in diverse countries as Germany, France and Sweden.
The UK’s move is part of a bigger movement across the continent. Progressive and innovative cities know that they urgently need to encourage new forms of non-polluting transport if they are to reduce pollution and congestion in urban centers. Voi predicts some will ban cars from city centers and that driving SUVs will become as unfashionable as smoking.
E-scooters are just part of a mix of solutions that can help shape our cities for the future.
There is an opportunity here for the UK government to start with a blank sheet and become a market leader in effective regulation of this new form of transport.
We urge them, as we are other cities, to put in place regulations from day one that dictate the quality standards of e-scooters as well as devoting space for parking, so that we can provide a world-class safe service. Choosing two to three e-scooter operators with sizable fleet, as cities like Marseille and Bremen have done, is necessary to unleash the untapped potential of e-scooters, and in turn free people travelling around Europe’s finest towns and cities.
Cities need to set high standards and work with operators to promote good rider behavior, safe and tidy parking, and ultimately sustainability. Without licensing or rules, there is only so much an e-scooter operator can do to encourage and promote safe use of this new transport mode.
Voi is urging policymakers and local authorities to set minimum safety standards, just as Germany did when it legalized scooters last summer. Our experience in our home in Sweden, where we have introduced designated parking spaces and low-speed zones, has also convinced us that effective regulation is the best way for e-scooters to thrive.
Meanwhile, we want to say to everyone in the UK, you’re going to love to Voi and we can’t wait to help you push off.