E-Scooters: The rent is on!

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E-Scooters: The rent is on!

Published 2 julio 2020

This week the government announced new regulations will come into force on Saturday 4th July that will permit trial of e-scooters.  The trial only legalises the use of e-scooters in a rental situation, and the use of individually owned devices on roads will remain illegal.

Local areas and operators who are interested in taking part in the trials need to notify the Department for Transport (DfT).

It is envisaged that the DfT will adopt a light touch approach, allowing operators and local areas to co-ordinate trials.

These fast-tracked trials, brought forward and expanded in scope owing to a significant reduction in capacity of public transport services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, will test e-scooters’ safety, green credentials and the potential for reducing traffic, particularly in urban environments.

In its guidance, the government has stated that the trials will be regulated in a similar way to electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs) where possible but that during trials, e-scooters will still be classed as motor vehicles, with the result that they will need to have insurance and that riders will need to have the appropriate form of driving licence.

Among the other points from the guidance and regulations worthy of note:

  • Cycle helmets are recommended but are not mandatory - there is a suggestion that local areas may wish to include their provision or availability at the point of hire in the agreements with operators
  • E-scooters will be permitted to use the same road space as cycles and EAPCs (including cycle lanes)
  • E-scooters will be exempted from vehicle registration and licencing
  • There is a recommendation for e-scooters to have automatic lights, but this is not mandated
  • Where rental scooters have no docking port, local authorities are required to ensure that scooters are not left abandoned / blocking pavement

Issues of enforcement in respect of illegal usage of e-scooters and road traffic violations where they are properly rented are not addressed. 

It is anticipated that trials will be able to commence before the end of August and will last for 12 months from inception when the results will be analysed and decisions made for the future.

Of particular interest to insurers will be the claims experience during this trial period, both the number and severity of claims.

DAC Beachcroft’s multi-disciplinary Insurance team has been considering both the legal and claims implications arising from advent of micromobility solutions for some time, and we will continue to monitor the outputs of the e-scooter trials with interest.

Authors

Peter Allchorne

Peter Allchorne

Bristol

+44 (0) 117 918 2275

Michael McCabe

Michael McCabe

London - Walbrook

+44 (0) 20 7894 6315

Caroline Hall

Caroline Hall

Bristol

+44 (0)117 918 2351

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