Thank you for contacting me about electric scooters.
As you will be aware, the Department for Transport (DfT) is running a series of electric scooter trials in select areas across the country. The trials will run for twelve months, allowing the Government to investigate the true benefits and costs of electric scooters. E-scooters could ease the burden on the transport network and, in light of the Coronavirus, help to facilitate social distancing. However, the Government will need to scrutinise the full impact of electric scooters before any decision is made on whether they should be legalised.
Some councils have raised concerns about the trials after reports of misuse of scooters, such as use in pedestrianised areas. This is against the clear government guidance first published in July, which lists the rules for members of the general public who are using e-scooters as part of trials. The full list of guidelines can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-scooter-trials-guidance-for-users.
I fully appreciate that people with disabilities, especially those who are blind and visually impaired, can be more affected by some of the negative impacts of electric scooter use. It is important that our streets are as accessible as possible, and I welcome that the Department for Transport has carried out a preliminary assessment of the impacts of e-scooters on blind people. While there is currently limited evidence available, the current trials have been designed to enable the Government to gather robust and comprehensive evidence of the impact of e-scooters on all road users.
As the trials continue to run, the Department has taken into account the possible implications for visually impaired people, and have attempted to minimise these through measures such as: not allowing e-scooter on pavements, and asking local authorities to consider in their trial plans ways to avoid e-scooters creating an obstruction when not in use.
Please be assured that I will continue to monitor the situation closely and will raise your concerns with my ministerial colleagues whenever appropriate. Above all, I am confident that the trial period should deliver an outcome that is satisfactory, fair and also safe for all road users and pedestrians.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking