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E-scooter pilots in doubt as DfT frees authority areas to end them

Pilot schemes trialling e-scooters could abandon them if there is local opposition, says DfT.

The future of pilot schemes considering the legalisation of E-scooters has been thrown into doubt.

The Department for Transport has extended the end date for 30 trials in England – and accepted that the areas running them can abandon them after November if they want to.

The areas had been testing to see if the vehicles could be legalised to reduce traffic in urban areas.

Private hire firms – backed by private equity and tech investor cash - have been providing them and the data will then be evaluated by DfT officials.

Currently, non-hire scooters are illegal anywhere other than private land.

Travel Minister Trudy Harrison told Parliament: “The Government has decided to allow current e-scooter trials, which are live in 30 areas across England, to be extended.

“The existing trials will continue to run until 30 November and participating local authorities will then have the option to end their local trial or extend it to 31 May 2024,” she added.

“Extensions will be restricted to existing trial areas only and will allow us to gather further evidence where gaps are identified, building on the findings of the current evaluation.”

The statement ended with the admission that areas have raised objections to the scheme could now walk away.

“We hope that all areas will want to continue, but there is no compulsion,” she confirmed.

Official data reveals nine people have been killed in collisions involving e-scooters last year – up from one the previous year. 

And 223 pedestrians were injured, including 63 who were seriously hurt. There were 57 casualties the year before.

A Met officer suffered a broken leg afte being hit by one and transpor for london has banned them after a battery caused a fire on a tube train.

Offenders banned from the road for drink or drug driving have been caught using them as an alternative form of transport.

Forces have also warned that E-scooters have been linked to offending including street robbery.

One rider was arrested after being caught riding one on a motorway in Birmingham.

There have been warnings from Police and Crime Commissioners, Chief Constables and safety campaigners in affected areas.

Kent’s PCC, Matthew Scott, says the government needs to stop the expansion of e scooter trials, before it loses control of the issue.  

He said: “Inconsiderate riders are becoming a menace on our roads and pavements, ignoring the law and causing dangers for other road users. We urgently need decisive action now on their future, as we’re in danger of losing control of the issue and placing additional burdens on policing.”

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