The Government has announced plans for a new vehicle category that would pave the way for the legalisation of private-use e-scooters.
Following the Queen’s Speech earlier this week, details have been gradually emerging about the Government’s new Transport Bill, which will include updated legislation for privately-owned electric scooters.
Speaking in the House of Lords this week, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Transport, confirmed that the Government plans to create a new vehicle category for low speed, zero emission vehicles, with e-scooters likely to be the first vehicles added to that category.
Baroness Vere said: “Safety is also at the heart of our plans to create a regulatory framework for smaller, lighter, zero emission vehicles, sometimes known as e-scooters.
“Their popularity is clear and new rules are needed to improve safety and crack down on illegal use, whilst unlocking innovation and growth in this emerging, multi-billion pound industry. To that end, it is our intention that [the Transport Bill] will create a low speed zero emission category that is independent from the cycle and motor vehicle categories.
“New powers would allow the Government to decide the vehicles that fall into this new category in the future and how they should be regulated to make sure they are safe to use.
“We hope that e-scooters will be the first of these vehicles.”
While there was no explicit mention of e-scooters in the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the Governments plans for the coming parliamentary session, or the supporting documents, a Government spokesperson later confirmed that e-scooter legislation would form part of the new Transport Bill.
It is currently illegal to ride privately-owned electric scooters on public roads without a licence or insurance.
There are more than 30 trial scooter rental schemes in operation across the UK, which the Government is using to collect safety data to inform any updated legislation.
Read more: ‘Micromobility industry is ready to adapt to legalisation,’ says e-scooter brand Bird
Micromobility retailers and campaigners hope that this new vehicle category will be the next step towards the legalisation of e-scooters in the UK.