UK picks national pub day to start trial of rental e-scooters

On 4 July Britons will be allowed to go to the pub for the first time in four months, so that seems like a great time to make a new class of motorbike available to take for a spin.

E-scooters are designated by the government as motor vehicles, with the subcategory defined as following:

  • is fitted with no motor other than an electric motor with a maximum continuous power rating of 500W and is not fitted with pedals that are capable of propelling the vehicle
  • is designed to carry no more than one person
  • has a maximum speed not exceeding 15.5 mph
  • has 2 wheels, 1 front and 1 rear, aligned along the direction of travel
  • has a mass including the battery, but excluding the rider, not exceeding 55kg
  • has means of directional control via the use of handlebars that are mechanically linked to the steered wheel
  • has means of controlling the speed via hand controls and a power control that defaults to the ‘off’ position

Many cities abroad are already over-run by these entry-level motorbikes, with the pedestrian experience in Paris, for example, made considerably more electrifying by throwing e-scooters into the mix. The UK announcement insists they won’t be permitted on pavements, but that’s presumably the case in France too, and many users don’t seem to have got the memo. Privately-owned e-scooters, conversely, will remain banned from the roads.

“As we emerge from lockdown, we have a unique opportunity in transport to build back in a greener, more sustainable way that could lead to cleaner air and healthier communities across Great Britain,” said Transport Minister Rachel Maclean. “E-scooters may offer the potential for convenient, 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 trials will allow us to test whether they do these things.”

Even greener than electric bikes, which still rely on power produced largely by the burning of fossil fuels, are regular bikes. London already has them in abundance from the time the current UK PM was mayor, so it could be argued that the introduction of e-scooters would be a green step backwards if people switch to them from bicycles.

David Parry-Jones, VP EMEA of Mobile app enabler Twilio, which counts vehicle-sharing company Lime as a customer, reckons this is a great idea. “Micromobility solutions, such as shared bikes, e-bikes, and potentially soon e-scooters, are going to be a critical part of enabling people to travel without increasing pressure on public transport systems as lockdown eases,” he said.

“Globally-connected IoT SIMs allow micromobility companies to oversee their whole fleet and connect people to it. The simplicity of such a solution means it’s far easier for micromobility providers to develop a single product that can be deployed globally, rather than having to grapple with the complexities of individual network carriers in each market.”

There’s no doubting e-scooters would be a convenient and fun addition to our streets, especially for people who can’t be bothered to cycle, but if Paris is anything to go by they will also significantly complicate life for everyone else. As for making them available on the same day the pubs reopen, the mind boggles at the chaos that will surely ensue. It’s almost as if the government want to gather evidence against a full roll-out.

Tags: , , , ,
  • 2020 Vision Executive Summit

  • Industrial IoT World

  • TechXLR8

  • IoT World Europe Summit

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.