A transport minister has described e-scooters as an ‘active’ form of travel, despite fears that their introduction could see a reduction in walking and cycling.
Future of transport minister Rachel Maclean (pictured) was appearing before the Transport Select Committee, which is conducting an inquiry entitled: 'e-scooters: pavement nuisance or transport innovation?'
She was asked by former committee chair Lilian Greenwood about evidence suggesting that the shift from car use to e-scooters has been relatively low in other European countries but that people are often using an e-scooter as an alternative to walking or cycling.
Ms Maclean said: ‘We clearly want to see mode shift, not just on to e-scooter but on to other forms of active travel such as cycling and walking.
‘We believe that these micro-mobility aids can provide a more active form of transport at this time.
‘Micro-mobility is one active form of travel. You are not sitting in a car. You are more active. You are out and about.’
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, on the other hand, recently described e-scooters as ‘bad for active travel’.
In a position statement, it said: ‘E-scooters are not active travel. They involve no physical exertion and provide no health benefit to the user.
‘Because e-scooters largely replace walk, cycle and public transport trips, all of which involve physical activity and have the associated health benefits, e-scooters will tend to reduce active travel.’
Ms Maclean also suggested that e-scooters may provide an option to people, particularly women, who would not otherwise cycle: ‘Travelling in a skirt or a dress and not being able to shower when you get to work means that cycling does not always work for people.’
As to the extent of mode shift from cars, Ms Maclean said: ‘We do expect to see a mode shift away from cars. I cannot really quote you a figure because our departmental analysts have been over and over this and they have not been able to give me a figure that we are happy to stand behind.’