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New safety regulations proposed for e-scooters

A new set of regulations for allowing micromobility vehicles, such as e-scooters, to operate legally in the UK, has been proposed by University of Warwick.

The report - ‘Micromobility, a UK roadmap’ - looks at ways to improve the quality and safety of models available, as well as providing clear guidance for authorities to deal with unsafe behaviour.

Lead author John Fox, programme director at WMG at the University of Warwick, said: “The purpose of the ‘Micromobilty, a UK roadmap’, is to provide regulations on how powered micromobility vehicles could be designed and operated in the UK.

“It’s important that these vehicles are high quality, safe, and legal.”

Researchers at the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) department at the University of Warwick, with support from Cenex, and 100 organisations representing road users, safety groups, transport authorities and industry have helped shape the roadmap.

If the roadmap was adopted, the public could legally operate eScooters and other micromobility vehicles by mid-2023.

Micromobility is a key part of achieving net-zero emissions for transport. For many journeys, particularly short journeys, walking or using micromobility are much better for the environment than using a car.

“They can provide a low-carbon mobility option which is available to everybody, allowing us to make choices about how we travel, and stimulating future innovation which will accelerate a market for UK manufacturers,” said Fox.

The key recommendations of the roadmap are:

  • The creation of a new vehicle category “Powered Micro Vehicles” and three initial new vehicle types in the category: eScooter, Light Electric Cargo Vehicle, Electric Light Moped.

  • Specific standards and regulations for each vehicle type, including speed limits and weight limits.

  • Vehicles must be registered and be visually identifiable.

  • Cardinal design requirements around minimum wheel size and redundancy of braking systems, so there is a secondary method of slowing the vehicle down.

  • Daytime running lights, a sound emitter and indicators are required to improve visibility for current road users.

  • No use on the pavement in any circumstance, and instead use on roads and cycle-ways.

  • Minimum ages for operating the vehicles, and PPE recommendations.

  • New powers for local policing and PCSOs in England and Wales, to fine breaches and illegal use.

Robert Evans, CEO at Cenex, said: “In order to lower emissions from transport, it is crucial we find a way forward that allows the UK micromobility market to grow sustainably and safely for all.

“The growth in e-bike use and the popularity of e-scooter trials have demonstrated that electric powered micro vehicles will have a significant role in our future transport systems.

“The right legislation and regulations must enable this whilst minimising any potential negative impacts.”

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, recently told MPs on the transport committee that new legislation to govern the use of e-scooters will be introduced.

Declaring ongoing e-scooter trials as a success, Shapps said he would “crack-down” on the private market, making it illegal to sell e-scooters which do not meet regulatory standards the

Government aims to introduce.

Fleet News May 2022


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