Ministers should not lose momentum over the legalisation of electric scooters on UK roads, MPs have said.
The Transport Select Committee has published the Department for Transport’s (DfT) response to its report on e-scooters.
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The DfT said it will consider the findings of ongoing trials before deciding whether the use of e-scooters, including privately owned vehicles, should be made legal on the road and, if so, what legal framework should regulate their use.
In response to a recommendation from MPs that its focus ‘must be on developing and implementing a sensible and proportionate regulatory framework for legal e-scooter use’, the DfT said it ‘partly’ agreed but stressed that it had not yet made a decision on legalisation.
It said: ‘The prior stage is to fully understand the impacts— both positive and negative—of this new mode. Only then will the Government make any decisions about legislating for the long term and the regulatory underpinning to ensure e-scooters are used as safely and efficiently as possible. Evaluation of e-scooter trials across the country will provide us with the evidence needed about their impacts as well as what cities and other stakeholders consider the most appropriate regulatory framework to be.’
However, it agreed with a recommendation from MPs that if privately-owned e-scooters are legalised it should ensure that the law clearly prohibits their use on footways.
Committee chair Huw Merriman said: ‘We are pleased that the Department is putting a premium on collecting data and evidence from the trials and from other countries. We maintain our view that 18 months is a suitable timeframe to analyse the results of e-scooter trials and implement any decisions. This takes us to April 2022 and we urge the Government does not lose momentum on this.
‘As we go into Christmas, we are mindful that the sales and use of private e-scooters – which are still illegal – continue to rise, with continued negative impacts on pedestrians and disabled people.’
He added: ‘Encouraging people out of cars for short journeys and on to e-scooters will be worthwhile if they are environmentally sustainable in their design and the processes used to recharge them.
‘We look forward to hearing further evidence on their environmental impact and would encourage the Department to set targets for modal shift beyond the trial period.’