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15 Jan 2020

This years iceBike* will once again see The Bike Shop take up a central position to help advise retailers on POS and merchandising best...

15 Jan 2020

At £8.72 per hour, the National Living Wage will rise by 51p in April from its current rate of £8.21

17 Dec 2019

Retail Week Live is an inspirational two-day retail conference that provides leaders with the ideas, insight and networks to lead through digital transformation and win greater consumer...

12 Dec 2019

There is now less than one month remaining for UK-based independent bike shops to participate in CI.N's annual Retail Channel Study

12 Dec 2019

The UK general election is happening today on the 12th December 2019.

11 Dec 2019

The Strava "Year in Sport" report was published on Wednesday and released various statitstics about cyclists across the UK

10 Dec 2019

Cycling UK are putting forward another push to encourage the UK to walk and cycle more for the sake of the oceans.

10 Dec 2019

Sustrans have recently announced a new software which will help to make cycling convenient and accessible to more people.

5 Dec 2019

The ActSmart office will be open as usual (9am-5:15pm) for the majority of the Christmas period

27 Nov 2019

This year's winner of the annual Cyclist Café of the Year awards, orgnaised by Cycling UK, has been annouced today!

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The ACT stance on Electric Scooters

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News , Political News

Despite the first electric scooter being introduced over a hundred years ago, it is only within the last few years that the e-scooter has exploded in popularity, and even more recently that it has been on the lips of the nation - particularly the part of the nation that makes up the bike business.

E-scooters are now a prominent mode of transport in over 100 cities, with increasing popularity in many European countries and the US. E-scooters provide the obvious benefits of being environmentally friendly and reducing congestion. Considering the success of e-scooters in developed countries around the world and the benefits they offer, the question must be asked as to why e-scooters are illegal to ride in public within the UK.

Following the recent death of a TV star whilst riding an e-scooter, much debate has been sparked in regard to the safety of the vehicles for not only the rider but also other road users and pedestrians. According to the Department for Transport, e-scooters are classed as motor vehicles within the UK, meaning that they are subject to requirements such as MOT, tax, licensing and other construction requirements such as needing to have visible rear red lights, number plates and signalling ability. As e-scooters lack these necessities they cannot be road legal.

To summarise: it is still legal to sell e-scooters in the UK, although not legal to ride them anywhere other than private land with the land owner's permission and that the public does not have access without legal restrictions.

Read more at the Government website here.

However, with recent environmental issues reaching crisis levels and the UK failing to tackle the rising levels of air pollution, can a sustainable solution such as the e-scooter be so easily dismissed?

"We are examining whether they can be used safely on the road - and if so, how that should be regulated to ensure the public's safety." - The Future of Mobility minister Michael Ellis.

A Future of Mobility review is being conducted by the UK government to determine how e-scooters may change the ways in which people move around cities, as well as evaluating how current laws can be adapted to ongoing innovation.

The ACT stance

The current viewpoint of the government shown through the Department for Transport and the Future of Mobility is very focussed on safety and does not show any urgency to regulate e-scooters in order to legalise them.

The ACT have been monitoring the e-scooter debate and discussing the issue with the Bicycle Association (BA). The following regulatory framework has been proposed and agreed upon by both parties to reflect a joint position in ensuring that this message is reinforced across the industry:

  • A clear definition, so that e.g. hoverboards or heavier, moped-like scooters are not inadvertently included if only e-scooters are intended to be in scope
  • Maximum speed at which the motor can propel the vehicle
  • Limits on either maximum motor power or acceleration
  • Control system requirements e.g. to specify that any throttle actuation must be maintained by the rider
  • Braking requirements
  • Lighting requirements
  • Clear details of exactly where they may be used: roads, cycle paths, bridleways, pavements, footpaths, etc.
  • Any rider age restrictions

The primary stance of both the ACT and the BA is to work together to encourage e-scooter responsibility among the wider cycling industry. Whilst there is an obvious opportunity for IBDs to start selling e-scooters, until the government announces a regulation change it is crucial for retailers to be aware of the law and they must relay this to any buyers of e-scooters to ensure safety. It is important the industry provides, and is seen to provide, clear advice to consumers at the point of sale about where e-scooters may be legally used.


Reader Comments (3)

We have been selling Segway e scooters in store and have instructed all staff to let the customer know before the purchase the legality of them and we then back this up with a printed A4 sheet so they have it in black and white. We believe there should be some requirements ie wear a helmet, a fitted bell for warning and lights for night use and some sensible restrictions ie limited speed to 15 mph pavement use only as the wheels are too small for use near our gutters which is where most cyclists end up getting forced into.

Ian Stow, 1 Aug 2019

The fundamental distinction is that an e-bike will not move without physical rider input. An e-scooter will. As ever, any regulations will have to be policed and enforced and in an era when serious crimes do not merit Police attention, is that likely? Remember the Sinclair C5? Pedals a legal requirement to keep ,it within the cycle category. It would move without 'rider' input but not for long!!

paul darlington, 5 Aug 2019

To me the position in scooters is the same as derestricted e-bikes. Without the proper licensing these can only be used on private land (and not off read as many people think). As very few people have private land where using either an e-scooter or unrestricted e-bike become feasible then the vast, vast majority of people who are buying them will be using them illegally. Selling to these people, even with all the caveats, is essentially saying 'I know you are going to break the law and I'm going to enable you to do that.' Unless the customer can prove they are going to use it on private land then I think the position that we should not sell these items at all.

Chris Ogle, 12 Aug 2019

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