Insights

Let the London electric scooter trials begin!

Posted Monday 7th June 2021

Today, Monday 7th June, London’s rental e-scooter trial begins in a core group of London boroughs, Canary Wharf and the City of London. More areas are expected to join the 12-month trial as it progresses in London, with boroughs such as Southwark and Lambeth keen to participate.

Following the government’s announcement last year to widen the geographical scope of the trials to London and to fast-track the legalisation of the rental trials run by local authorities, e-scooter operators Dott, Lime and TIER were chosen to take part in the London trial. Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils’ carried out a competitive procurement process, where the operators’ abilities to meet strict safety requirements and high operating standards was carefully considered before they were chosen.

Are the safety standards for the London trial different than those set out at a national level?

TfL has emphasised how safety for Londoners is at the core of the trial. In this regard, the safety requirements have gone further than those set out at a national level, by requiring:

  • A lower maximum speed of 12.5mph when driving the e-scooter, which is 3mph slower than the speed permitted in other trials.
  • Lights to be on at all times at the front and the read of the e-scooter throughout any rental period.
  • Audible warning systems to alert pedestrians that can be activated without interfering with the rider’s grip of the e-scooter handlebar must be used.

The three operators will have further safety mechanisms, including ‘first ride policies’ where riders will need to complete an e-learning safety course before they hire an e-scooter for the first time. Riders will not be legally required to wear a helmet, but it is recommended.

Where can the rental e-scooters be used in London?

The following London boroughs and areas are taking part in the trial:

  • Ealing
  • Canary Wharf
  • The City of London
  • Hammersmith and Fulham
  • The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • Richmond upon Thames.

Tower Hamlets will act as ‘ride-through’ area; riders may travel through the borough, but they cannot start or end their rides here. Between 60 and 150 e-scooters will be available to rent in each fully participating borough initially, with riders able to move freely across these boroughs and ‘ride-through’ areas. The e-scooters will use ‘geo-fencing’ mapping technology, meaning they will come to a safe halt as they reach the boundary of each trial area. The rental e-scooters can only be used on roads and in cycle lanes. They are not allowed to be used on pavements. Private e-scooters remain illegal.

The London rental e-scooter trials will help to support the city’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and boost London’s safe and sustainable recovery by offering a greener and more flexible solution to car journeys. The trials will also help to bring London in line with many other capital cities around the world who are already home to e-scooters, both private and rental.


This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.


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