First look at e-scooters as Norwich year-long trial gets the green light
PUBLISHED: 10:18 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:16 26 August 2020
A trial of rental e-scooters will go ahead in Norwich, after the government gave the go-ahead for the city to be a test-bed for the machines.
The Department for Transport is fast tracking trials of rental e-scooters for local authorities and Norfolk County Council has been given the green light to work with Beryl to enable hiring 100 of the vehicles for 12 months.
Beryl, which rents bicycles and e-bikes in the city via a mobile phone app, has provided the first look at the electronic scooters which will soon join its fleet.
The Beryl e-scooter has passed vehicle approval from the Department for Transport. Every scooter is fitted with a safety bell and Beryl says talks will continue with organisations such as Norfolk police and local disability groups over how they operate.
Beryl e-scooters can be used on roads and cycle lanes, but not on pavements or shared spaces.
E-scooter riders will have to provide a valid UK driving licence to participate and there will be a 12mph speed limit, although that could be cut where lower speeds are deemed appropriate. Helmets are encouraged, but not mandatory, while scooters have to be left in specific bays.
Philip Ellis, chief executive and co-founder of Beryl, said: “We’re confident this first truly multi-modal trial will provide a great example of the future for micro mobility services everywhere.
“We believe this mix of vehicles and infrastructure will deliver the best service possible for our local authority partner as well as the community, supporting the need for a green recovery.”
It remains illegal for private e-scooter owners to ride on public land. The government sees the rental trial as a way to gather data and evidence over whether to change that law.
Transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “E-scooters could offer cleaner, more efficient and more affordable travel within our towns and cities and the trials in Norfolk will allow us to assess their impact on public space alongside pedal bikes and e-bikes.”
Martin Wilby, the council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “Safety will be of paramount importance. We’ve already put a number of measures in place and will be working closely with the police and key local stakeholders to ensure their use is appropriate.”
A date for the scheme’s launch has yet to be announced.
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