Our Voiage in the UK has just had a big boost, with the long-awaited announcement from the government that it has firm plans to create a new independent vehicle category and legalise e-scooters.
We were thrilled to hear the words of the Transport Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton when she announced this in the House of Lords on 11 May 2022:
“Safety is also at the heart of our plans to create a regulatory framework for lighter, smaller, zero emission vehicles. Sometimes known as e-scooters. My Lords, their popularity is clear and new rules are needed to improve safety and crack down on illegal use, whilst unlocking innovation and growth in this emerging multi-billion pound industry.”
Government acknowledgement of micromobility
We are sending multi-billion rounds of applause to Baroness Vere and the Department for Transport for acknowledging the growth and importance of our industry, and we welcome the government’s commitment to decarbonise transport and transform the way we travel.
Over 12 million rides have been taken on Voi e-scooters and e-bikes in the UK since the launch of the trials in 2020 and we have seen a 39% modal shift from cars to e-scooters, representing an estimated 4.5 million short car trips replaced.
This exciting development acknowledges the fact that shared e-scooter schemes have successfully demonstrated they can be safely integrated with other forms of public transport, bicycles and walking to give people carbon-free, safe, affordable and convenient transport options.
As the UK’s leading micromobility operator, we look forward to working with our city partners and the government to support the upcoming legislation as it passes through Parliament.
Our recommendations on upcoming e-scooter legislation
Private scooter use
Voi supports in principle the notion of private scooter use as it promotes a sustainable mode of transport – but regulations which permit their usage must ensure a level playing field between rental and private vehicles to ensure riders, pedestrians and other road users are safe.
Rider education should continue to be a focus for all e-scooter operators but also for councils and the government.
Helmets should continue to be recommended but not mandatory, just as with cycling, because it is important that people are not deterred from making a modal shift and be incentivised to avoid the use of cars for short journeys.
Currently, UK legislation states that the minimum age for e-scooter riding is 16 and we recommend that this should continue without the requirement of having a driving licence.
Amid the excitement of these developments, we are aware that this is only the beginning. However, there is no doubt that this leadership shown at top level will enable us to grow and, most importantly, continue to keep pushing forward with our mission to create better cities for living, for everyone. Vive la Voivolution!