Tuesday 30 June 2020 8:18 pm

Electric scooters zoom onto UK roads as government fast-tracks trials

Brits will finally be allowed to zoom around on rented electric scooters from Saturday, as part of a bid to promote socially-distanced transport.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the first rentable e-scooters could be available next week, as it published guidance for e-scooter-for-hire firms.

It comes as the government tries to ease the pressure on public transport amid the coronavirus crisis.

The vehicles are currently banned on UK roads, but will be allowed from Saturday. They will be limited to 15.5mph and it is recommended that riders wear helmets.

Privately owned scooters will remain illegal.

Local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales will waive through e-scooter sharing schemes in their areas as part of 12-month trials.

Riders will need a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence to use the vehicles.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said the trials would allow the government to test whether e-scooters could offer “clean and cost-effective travel that may also help ease the burden on the transport network, provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing”.

The scooters have been a regular fixture in hundreds of cities around the world for several years, but have remained banned in the UK.

Alan Clarke, UK policy director at scooter sharing company Lime, said: “As people follow government advice to avoid public transport, there is a threat of increased car usage, congestion and air pollution.

“As the world’s largest micromobility provider we already operate successful e-scooter and e-bike rental services in more than 125 cities – including London – so we know the value they bring and we’re excited to be able to offer this experience in the UK.

“Over the coming days, weeks and months as trials start, we’re looking forward to building healthier, greener and safer cities across the UK.”