TfL, Camden Council and London Councils have announced an expansion of the capital’s trial of rental e-scooters, with e-scooters available to rent in Camden from 27th September.
Camden becomes the tenth borough to join the trial alongside Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond, Tower Hamlets (including Canary Wharf), City of London, Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster.
There have been 165,000 trips made on the rental e-scooters since the trial launched, with the average rental lasting 22 minutes over an average distance of 2.8km. As Camden joins the trial area, the number of vehicles in the trial will increase to a maximum of 3,480. The number of vehicles has quadrupled since June and TfL has worked with London Councils and the London boroughs to ensure that high safety standards have been met by closely monitoring the trial.
Both users and non-users of the rental vehicles can give feedback and report incidents to e-scooter operators directly, either by using the contact details displayed on the vehicles or through operators’ apps. Contact details for the operators as well as information on how to leave general feedback on the trial can be found here.
The use of privately owned e-scooters on public roads remains illegal. The Metropolitan Police is continuing to undertake enforcement activity to deal with illegal e-scooter use and have seized over 2,500 private vehicles since the beginning of this year.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “I’m delighted that London’s e-scooter rental trial has expanded to Camden. Our trial continues to have safety at its core, with the same stringent standards in place, and will help determine what role e-scooters can play in London to support a sustainable recovery from the pandemic.”
Helen Sharp, TfL’s e-scooter trial lead, said: “We’re really pleased that Camden has joined London’s rental e-scooter trial and we have worked closely with them to ensure that this expansion meets the needs of everybody in the area. Safety continues to be at the heart of our trial and we continue to work with the e-scooter operators, London Councils and the London boroughs to ensure rigorous standards are being met.
“London’s e-scooter trial continues to provide data and insight into the long-term role e-scooters could play in a green and sustainable future for the capital, as well as the role they can play in avoiding a car-led recovery from the pandemic.”
The rental e-scooters have a number of safety features including always-on lights, GPS controlled parking and no-go zones – meaning they can only be parked in specified locations and cannot be ridden in certain areas and have a unique identification number on every vehicle. The safety standards for the London trial include:
– Users to be 18+ and must hold a provisional or full driving licence
– A lower maximum speed of 12.5mph, compared to the 15.5mph set nationally
– Lights at the front and the rear of the vehicles that are always on throughout any rental
– Larger wheels at least 12 inches in diameter, meaning they can navigate road surfaces more easily
– Vehicles to automatically come to safe stop in a ‘no go’ area, and safely reduce speed to 8mph in ‘go slow’ areas
The operators also have additional safety measures in place, including ‘first ride policies’, meaning riders must take an in-app safety course before they hire for the first time and lower maximum speeds in place for their first ride. Other safety measures in place include in-app messaging during certain hours to remind users that riding under the influence of alcohol is illegal and asking the rider to confirm their sobriety before use. TfL, London Councils and the operators also launched an extensive safety and awareness campaign to promote the importance of safety during the trial.
TfL, London Councils and participating boroughs have actively engaged with people with accessibility needs throughout the development of the trial and will continue to do so as the trial continues, including with TfL’s Independent Disability Advisory Group. This includes proactively engaging with the blind and partially sighted community and encouraging operators to work with the community to find an appropriate sound for rental e-scooters to alert people to their presence on the street. The trial is being regularly monitored and reviewed to make sure it is safe for everyone and changes will be made to its operation wherever improvements are identified.
While the Department of Transport will ultimately make any decisions on future e-scooter policy, data shared by the operators will play a vital role in helping to shape London and the UK’s future policy on e-scooters and will include data on trips, safety and sustainability. TfL is also trialling a micromobility data platform which allows for two-way data sharing with the operators and helps with the monitoring of the trial.