Richmond Council will be participating in a new London test of an e-scooter program to test the utility and safety of scooters as a long-term solution to air quality and congestion problems in the capital.
Driving e-scooters on the street or in public places is currently illegal.
However, the process, led by Transport for London and the London Councils, would allow people to legally drive them under the program.
It aims to understand whether and how the e-scooters can be safely housed as part of the wider London transport network.
All users have at least one official provisional driver’s license and violations can be treated as violations of road traffic law.
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The e-scooters operated by the operator selected by TfL are the only ones legally allowed on the road, and the use of private e-scooters on public footpaths and highways remains 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.
City councils unanimously approved the City Council’s participation in the study on the Transport and Air Quality Committee last night (January 14th), provided TfL made the necessary arrangements for the London study.
City councils generally endorsed the system but raised some safety concerns.
The council says it will closely monitor the effects of the process and has secured the right to amend or withdraw the process at any time.
Officials noted the popularity of similar trials in Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Norwich and Liverpool, but added that early feedback had shown some issues with using scooters on the sidewalks, driving with an extra person, or careless parking.
On the subject of matching items
On the subject of matching items
That same night, the committee also approved the launch of a Lime-powered dockless bike program in the community.
To support both programs and to address concerns about congestion on public footpaths with bicycles and e-scooters, the council will identify a specific space to house the new vehicles.
Councilor Alexander Ehmann, Chairman of the Committee on Transport and Air Quality, said: “Long after the health crisis in Covid 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. “
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