Gloucestershire County Council e-scooter trial

What is the national guidance on e-scooters?

Department for Transport legislation and guidance is clear about what e-scooters can and cannot do. Read the published guidance for users.

Why are e-scooters being trialled in Cheltenham?

Gloucestershire County Council is supporting the Department for Transport in delivering national e-scooter trials. The trials are for a 12 month period, and will supply data and evidence to the Department for Transport for Ministers to decide how to proceed with the legal status of e-scooters in the UK. E-scooters are currently illegal to use on the public highway, although this has been suspended for those e-scooters that are part of the trial.

As the lead authority for the trial, we ask that any questions or queries be sent through to Gloucestershire County Council via their dedicated email address: escooters@gloucestershire.gov.uk or visit their website for further information.

What are the benefits of e-scooters?

The main purpose of e-scooters of to enable a new form of mobility which does not contribute to carbon emissions, congestion or pollution. Gloucestershire contributes to greenhouse gases and climate change by supporting car-based transport. In order to meet decarbonisation targets this needs to change. E-scooters are one part of this solution. They are also low cost, meaning more people can travel where they need to go for education and work.

E-scooters and the law

An e-scooter will continue to fall within the statutory definition of a motor vehicle. Please note that the legal changes, only apply to e-scooters hired from rental operators and being used in trials. All of the current legal requirements for motor vehicles will continue to apply to privately owned e-scooters i.e. motor vehicle insurance, vehicle licensing and registration and display of plates, wearing of a motor-bicycle helmet, stricter driving licence requirements and construction and use and vehicle type approval.

A user should not ride an e-scooter while drunk or otherwise intoxicated; the user may be prosecuted under Section 4 and 5 Road Traffic Act 1988 drink and drug driving laws. This applies to all e-scooters. Careless and dangerous driving offences also apply to users of e-scooters [Section 2 and 3 Road Traffic Act 1988].

Users must have either a full or provisional UK driving licence to use an e-scooter, valid full licences from an EU or EEA country (so long as this does not prohibit the driver from driving low-speed mopeds and motorcycles), or have a valid full licence from another country that entitles you to drive a small vehicle (for example, cars, mopeds or motorcycles) for the first 12 months after entering the UK.

Motor vehicle insurance will be provided by the e-scooter rental company for each trial, which will cover users. Rental e-scooters can only be used by one person at a time and should not tow anything. The legal changes only relax the helmet requirement for the driver of an e-scooter, where helmets are recommended but are not a legal requirement for the lawful driver of a rental e-scooter.

A mobile phone must not be used when using an e-scooter. A screen to display navigation information may be used, but this must be set up prior to setting off.

Users should always ensure bags or other small items carried will not cause a danger to the user or others around them – for example, hanging them from the handlebars.

The user should refer to the terms of use of the e-scooter operator before renting a trial e-scooter.

How will e-scooters be made COVID-19 secure?

E-scooters will have a rigorous cleaning regime, ensuring that all DfT guidelines are following on cleaning and using antibacterial wash.

Where are users allowed to use a trial e-scooter?

A trial e-scooter may be used on the road (except motorways) and in cycle lanes, within the approved trial geographical area, unless not authorised by the local area, as signposted to users.

A user must not use an e-scooter on the pavement.

The hire app will display the trial location within Cheltenham and the dedicated parking zones. In the majority of cases these are on or near the public highway. As this is a trial these locations are not final and will evolve based upon customer demand, monitoring and other factors.

The use of Geofencing

Geofencing is the term for the areas in which the e-scooters are permitted to be used using GPS technology. Should users try to take their e-scooter out of the geofenced area the scooter will slowly come to a halt. Cheltenham will be geofenced with a reduced speed limit in some areas for safety along with dedicated geofenced parking bays where you will collect and dock your e-scooter after use.

The e-scooter provider

Zwings is the chosen provider for Gloucestershire and delivers e-scooter and e-bike fleet rental schemes to towns outside of London where there is a need for sustainable personal transportation yet limited high quality supply. They are a leading British innovator for micro-mobility solutions. They specialise in designing personalised e-bike and e-scooter fleet rental schemes that accounts for the needs of a far reaching range of stakeholder groups.

Zwings have been selected by a diverse range of councils to deploy e-scooters in six cities and towns across the UK. They have a 24/7 customer services team that can be contacted on: +44 20 348 82591 should you have any direct queries.

Find out more on the Zwings website.