More than 50 organisations have signed a letter to the UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, urgently calling on the government to legalise e-scooters.
The signatories, including environmental charities and campaigners, local authorities, disabled people’s organisations, micromobility operators and retailers, have warned that the UK is at risk of falling behind the rest of Europe if the legislation isn’t brought forward.
Rental e-scooters are currently only available through government trials in around 23 towns and cities across England – it is illegal to use private e-scooters on public roads.
The UK is the only developed nation without either permanently legal e-scooters or committed plans to legalise.
Now Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK), which brings together public, private and third sector organisations to support shared transport, has sent a letter on behalf of more than 50 organisations to Rishi Sunak calling on him to press ahead with legislation to create a new powered light vehicle class that would make e-scooters legal.
The letter, sent to Mark Harper MP, Transport Secretary and Jesse Norman MP, Minister of State, reads: “Currently e-scooter trials are due to end after May 2024. These trials are ingrained into local transport systems enabling thousands of people to get to work, higher education and to run errands. Yet there is no certainty of these trials beyond spring next year nor the ability of additional towns or cities to introduce these services.
“This lack of certainty combined with the fact an estimated 750,000 privately owned and unregulated e-scooters are on UK roads underscores the importance of e-scooter legislation being included in this year’s King’s Speech.
“Another extension to shared e-scooters does not address private e-scooters. These private vehicles are unlikely to undergo regular maintenance by trained professionals or have government-mandated safety features.
“Private e-scooters can cause concern for road users particularly disabled people in addition to potentially being unsafe for riders, however, this is where legislation and regulation can make a positive difference.”
Signatories include the Campaign for Better Transport, Clean Cities Campaign, London Cycling Campaign, Major Trauma Group, Northamptonshire Police, Pure Electric, Southampton Sight, Sustrans, Thomas Pocklington Trust, Transport Action Network, Urban Transport Group and Women in Transport.
Local authorities include Essex County Council, Milton Keynes City Council, North Northamptonshire Council, Somerset Council, West Northamptonshire Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
It is also signed by micromobility operators Voi, Beryl, Dott, Ginger, Lime, Superpedestrian, Tier and Zwings.
Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said: “The evidence from the trials is that e-scooters are incredibly popular, with huge demand from users, and the UK has been left as an international outlier by not introducing permanent legality.
“To address the crisis levels of transport emissions in the UK and help people save money amid the cost-of-living crisis, the government can’t delay any further.”
A recent independent poll, commissioned by Voi, found that more than 80% of the general public are supportive of new regulatory measures for e-scooters – and over 70% want them introduced before the next General Election.