Delays to legislation covering electric bikes and scooters is preventing manufacturers and operators from expanding in the UK, and could even see them leave the British market altogether if new rules aren’t passed soon, the government has been warned.
Julian David, the chief executive of trade association TechUK, has called on the government for regulatory certainty in order to increase the production of e-bikes and e-scooters in the UK.
“We are now rapidly losing pace as the EU has already taken steps to legalise e-Scooters and is drafting bloc-wide cargo bike regulations to come into effect from next year,” David said in a letter to Transport Secretary Mark Harper, seen by City A.M.
David warned that a “split-regulatory model between the UK and EU will hinder the ability of manufacturers and operators to scale, resulting in many UK operations winding down or ceasing altogether.”
The UK is currently the only country in Europe not to have moved forward with formal regulations outlining how and where passengers can use micro-mobility technologies.
E-bikes and e-scooters are currently allowed on the roads in the UK under an ongoing government trial launched in 2020, but the path towards permanent legality has not been made clear.
Hal Stevenson, e-scooter group Lime’s senior public affairs manager, told City A.M. that the ongoing trial shows e-scooters “can safely deliver sustainable transport options in towns and cities across the UK”.
“Long term e-scooter regulation and legislation will give companies such as Lime the confidence to deliver increased investment in the UK, securing jobs and delivering accessible sustainable transport options for all,” Stevenson said.
Fred Jones, the general manager for Northern Europe at Tier, told City A.M. that the firm supported the call for regulation “as the present situation has fuelled the rise of unsafe private e-scooters, which damage public trust in a sustainable and convenient form of transport.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) has come under fire for legislative delays for other technologies, with insurance firms calling for urgent rules on autonomous vehicles.
The DfT did not comment on the legislative delays around e-bikes and e-scooters, but a spokesperson said the e-scooter trials “are exploring the benefits and wider impacts of e-scooters, and we continue to monitor them closely.”
“We intend to introduce new rules around low-speed zero emission vehicles when parliamentary time allows,” they added.