More than 2 million people have used a shared e-scooter as part of the trial schemes in the UK, according to a new report.
The national charity for shared transport, CoMoUK (Collaborative Mobility UK), has published its first report on rental e-scooter trials, which have been taking place in 31 locations across England since 2020.
The report has revealed that there were 2.3 million users up until January 2023, with 34 million different rides taking place. The average ride time is 15.5 minutes, with trips averaging at 1.6 miles, and the largest age cohort is 16 to 24.
CoMoUK has now urged the Government to accelerate plans to legalise private-use e-scooters on public roads, following the success of the trials.
Richard Dilks, chief executive of the charity, said: “The evidence from the trials is that e-scooters are incredibly popular, with huge demand from users – as is the case in most countries where they have been introduced.
“They have proven to be far more than a flash in the pan, with sustained levels of use taking the number of rides to more than 34 million.
“Used properly, e-scooters are a very safe form of transport and a key part of the shared transport mix that will help people save money and cut emissions.
“But the UK is the only developed nation without permanent legality for e-scooters.
“The Government must urgently deliver on its promise to legalise and regulate e-scooters so that they can be introduced across the UK and ensure we do not miss out on this golden opportunity.”
CoMoUK said that as the “novelty factor” of e-scooters has worn off, they have become an “established part of the transport mix and increase their potential to replace less sustainable modes of transport” such as private cars.
The report also found that most anti-social conduct involving e-scooters relates to privately-owned ones, meaning perceptions are “undoubtedly clouded by the conduct of riders of privately owned e-scooters, which, unlike share e-scooters in the trial schemes, are totally unregulated”.
The strong safety record of the trials suggests there is just one serious injury per 500,000 trips, while 82 per cent of collisions involve private e-scooters.
CoMoUK has made seven key recommendations which require urgent action, including:
- New legislation to create a new vehicle class for e-scooters with defined vehicle standards such as speed limits.
- Better communication from the government and local authorities to emphasise that private e-scooters are not lawful on the public highway.
- More parking infrastructure for e-scooters, taking space away from private cars.
The CoMoUK report concludes: “Shared e-scooters in the UK have proven themselves to have a strong contribution to make to decarbonisation, inclusion and enjoyment in transport in the two-and-a-half years of their operation to date.
“This momentum remains on risk until the Government moves to legislate. If it does, the UK has the chance, via detailed engagement between all stakeholders across public, private and third sectors, to get a new range of powered, light zero emission at tailpipe vehicles at its disposal.
“To meet the crisis levels of transport emissions within the wider climate crisis, it will need them.”