BA welcomes e-scooter legalisation announcement, urges active travel safeguards
April 28, 2022
The Bicycle Association has welcomed the news that legislation to regulate the sale and use of privately-owned e-scooters is to be announced on the 10th May, as part of the Queen’s Speech.
This was confirmed in remarks made by the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, at his evidence session to Parliament’s Transport Select Committee on the 27th April 2022.
Click the image to watch the evidence session with Grant Shapps via Parliamentlive.tv – opens in a new tab. It should jump straight to the e-scooters section, which starts at 11:18:45.
The Minister indicated that there is to be a two stage process: first the legislation (which is to be announced on the 10th May) which will define in law a vehicle category for e-scooters. Then, a consultation will take place ahead of regulations on technical requirements and usage details.
The Minister said (our transcript, with minor clean-ups):
“We will crack down on e-scooters sold privately which are sub-standard, can be tampered with, don’t have required lighting, power, wattage and the like. It will be illegal to sell e-scooters which don’t meet the regulatory standards we bring in. We will stop there being a free for all, making retailers responsible for this and bringing private e-scooters up to or to exceed the standard of the trials. We will crack down on illegal sale and use on the roads of private e-scooters. We will take new powers to properly regulate the usage of them.”
As the representative body for the UK cycle industry, the Bicycle Association welcomes this announcement, which signals the future development of a properly regulated market for e-scooters in the UK – a market in which the cycle industry is well placed to play a significant part.
The Bicycle Association has been engaged with Government on e-scooters since 2019, contributing detailed monthly sales figures from our Market Data Service and further market size estimates from our expert analysis of import data.
The BA has also provided extensive technical and legislative input, including providing oral evidence to the Transport Select Committee. In 2019 the BA engaged with numerous public sector and other stakeholders to develop a detailed technical document outlining options for legislators to ensure that e-scooters would not fall below the rigorous safety levels achieved over many years by the e-bike industry (with which e-scooters have some technical and regulatory similarities, but also many differences, as we have also outlined to regulators).
While welcoming the legalisation of e-scooters in principle, and the opportunities this may open up for consumer choice in transport, the Bicycle Association believes that is important that any new regulatory regime safeguard the existing well-proven e-bike regulations. Also, for safety and to ensure the attractiveness of active travel is not threatened, any new regulations must limit the performance of any ‘throttle-only’ vehicles which may share the use of cycle lanes.
Ahead of any consultations about the new regulations, the Bicycle Association has developed a draft position paper to codify these considerations. Industry feedback is very welcome. Read or download the draft paper below:
The Bicycle Association will continue to monitor developments closely. Until then, the Bicycle Association continues to urge all retailers selling e-scooters to be absolutely explicit in advertising and to customers that privately owned e-scooters cannot be ridden legally on the public highway, and may only be used on private land to which there is no unrestricted public access, with the landowner’s permission, in accordance with current legislation.