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E-scooter trials to begin in London on June 7

Today (18th May) Transport for London confirmed that e-scooter rental trials will begin in London on June 7. The operators will be Lime,  a provider already operating in Salford and Milton Keynes, Tier, a German provider that is part of a trial in York, and smaller newcomer Dott, for which London will be its first UK city.

The 12-month trial will run in Canary Wharf in Tower Hamlets, the City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, Ealing, Richmond upon Thames and Hammersmith. The boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster are also planning to take part in the trial in the future.

Safety standards

Transport for London has outlined the following safety standards for rental e-scooters in London:

  • A lower maximum speed of 12.5 mph (3mph lower than in the rest of the UK);
  • Lights at the front and rear of the vehicles that are always on throughout any rental;
  • Audible warning systems that can be used without adjusting the rider’s grip of the handlebar;
  • “First-ride policies” requiring new users to take an e-learning safety course;
  • Rules against riding on pavements;
  • Potential users are encouraged to wear a helmet while riding, though it is not mandatory.

Unlike private e-scooters, the use of which is illegal in all circumstances apart from on private land, people renting e-scooters need to have a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence.

Concerns

London Vision is particularly concerned about the likelihood of an increase in hazardous street clutter because of the trial. Abandoned dockless bikes in the capital already cause problems for blind and partially sighted pedestrians, disabled and elderly people; abandoned e-scooters have the potential to do the same.

E-scooter operators in London will be required to include geofencing that purports to prevent riding scooters in prohibited boroughs and to ensure responsible parking. Operators will also have a mandatory response time in cases of improper parking and obstructions. However, trials in Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and other cities have shown that these mandatory response times are rarely adhered to. The ability of geofencing to ensure responsible parking is also unproven.

Ongoing trials

Sight Loss Councils operating in Birmingham, Bristol and Merseyside are recording ongoing issues with e-scooter trials in their local areas as part of their Streets For All campaign. Abandoned, poorly parked and irresponsibly ridden e-scooters are causing persistent issues for pedestrians in trial cities and look likely to be replicated in London. Sight Loss Councils are asking people who see issues to publicly share photos or videos of these on social media with the hashtag #StreetsForAll.  They will then raise these with the operators.

TfL has suggested that cases of abandoned e-scooters should be reported directly to the operator using the serial numbers on each scooter, date, time, and location. Issues of poor rider behaviour should be reported the same way. Blind and partially sighted pedestrians are unlikely to be able to record the colour and/or serial number of offending scooters, and TfL is yet to suggest an alternative complaints system.

For reference:

  • Lime e-scooters are mostly white with lime green accents on the mudguard and steering stem, black wheels and mudguards.
  • Tier e-scooters have a black body, wheels and mudguards and a teal stem.
  • Dott e-scooters are mostly blue with black wheels, mudguards and handlebars.

Provide feedback on e-scooter use in London

Dott

Number: 0800 048 8993
Email: support@ridedott.com

Lime

Number: 0800 808 5223
Email: support@li.me

TIER

Number: 01513 174276
Email: support@tier.app

Get in touch

London Vision will continue to monitor the situation and engage with TfL about the progress of the trial in London. To support this work please share your experiences of e-scooters across London via info@londonvision.org.

To learn more about London Vision’s campaigns work, visit this page.

Published 18 May 2021

Updated 7 June to include feedback details for the e-scooter rental providers.

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