Newcastle City Council is set to trial hundreds of electric scooters over 12 months in a bid to get people out of their cars.
Dependent on Government approval, 250 bright orange e-scooters will be circulated around Newcastle in early 2021, with more to come as the year-long scheme gathers momentum.
This trial is intended to inform the local authority ‘to understand what role e-scooters could play’ in the overall objective of reducing road traffic emissions, commented Cabinet Member for Transport and Air Quality, Councillor Arlene Ainsley. The move comes after speculation about plans to charge some high-polluting vehicles to drive into the city.
The Newcastle initiative comes after the first trial of an e-scooter hire project in Teesside in July. Safety concerns were raised when teenagers were found using them on a dual carriageway. Opposition councillors continue to call for more details on how the Newcastle scheme will be monitored.
It is presently illegal to ride privately-owned e-scooters on public roads, risking a £300 fixed-penalty notice, and even six points on your driving license, with the offending scooter, seized.
Riders who use a rented e-scooter must be over 16 years old, wear a helmet, and need some sort of a license, full or provisional, for a car, motorcycle, or moped. Rental e-scooters will be allowed on roads, provided they are limited to 15.5 mph.
The electric scooter operator, Neuron e-scooters, has promised safety is a ‘top priority’, citing geofencing technology to create slow-zones, no-ride zones, and no-parking zones. The company is keen to successfully implement an environmentally friendly fleet of two-wheeled vehicles to get people moving around the city differently.
Neuron has further reassured the public that safety officers will keep the e-scooters and helmets hygienic with hospital-grade disinfectant and be on hand to help new riders become confident with this new, environmentally conscious way of travel.
Photo Credit: Neuron