Richmond upon Thames is proposing to take part in a London test of a joint e-scooter program designed to test the viability and safety of scooters as a long-term solution to serious air quality and congestion issues across the city.
The process, led by Transport for London (TfL) and the London Councils, would be the only legal way to drive e-scooters in public places in London.
The study aims to provide a better understanding of whether and how the e-scooters can be safely housed as part of London’s wider transport network. All users have at least one official provisional driver’s license and violations can be treated as violations of road traffic law. The e-scooters operated by the operator selected by TfL are the only ones that are legally permitted on the road. The use of private e-scooters on public roads and highways is still illegal.
The Richmond Council will work with TfL to agree areas of the district where the e-scooters may be used, including areas that require lower speed limits than the maximum speed of 15 mph to which the e-scooters are restricted are. The operators use geofence technology to ensure that the e-scooters automatically comply with these limit values.
Subject to the completion of the necessary arrangements for a London process by TfL, the Council’s participation in the process was approved by the Committee on Transport and Air Quality yesterday evening (14 January 2021). The Council will closely monitor the effects of the process and has secured the right to change or cancel the process at any time.
The committee also approved the introduction of a dockless bike program in the community. The council will work with provider Lime to provide flexible bike sharing across the district.
In order to support both programs and address concerns about the clutter of bicycles and e-scooters on public roads, the council will identify a specific space to house the new vehicles.
Councilor Alexander Ehmann, Chairman of the Transport and Air Quality Committee, said:
“Long after the Covid health crisis is behind us, we still have to deal with climate change and the challenge of environmental pollution in our capital. For our health and climate reasons, we cannot afford to get into a car-led recovery.
“For this reason, this council supports experiments with less environmentally harmful modes of transport such as e-scooters and e-bikes. Providing options like e-scooters and e-bikes is a positive way to encourage people to look for alternatives to the car.
“We know that some residents will have concerns about safety and the way these vehicles are used. I can assure them that we will be vigilant during this e-scooter trial and we are determined to take action if any problems arise.
“Bringing new technology to our roads is seldom easy, but it is vital. Richmond residents will be among the pioneers in testing and evaluating these vehicles. On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank the residents for the cooperation during this exciting process. “
– From a Richmond Council press release dated January 15, 2021