Posted: 15.01.21 at 17:50 by Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter
Richmond is set to take part in a new London-wide trial of an e-scooter scheme.
The council says it will test the usefulness and safety of the scooters as a long-term solution to air quality and congestion issues in the capital.
The trial, led by Transport for London and London Councils, is designed to understand if and how the electric scooters can be safely accommodated as part of London’s wider transport network.
All users will have at least an official provisional driving licence and offences can be treated as motoring offences.
The e-scooters operated by TfL’s chosen operator will be the only ones legally allowed on the streets and the use of private e-scooters on public footways and roads will remain illegal.
Richmond Council will work with TfL to agree areas of the borough that the e-scooters may be used in, including areas that require lower speed limits than the maximum 15.5mph the e-scooters are limited to.
Councillor Alexander Ehmann is chair of the Transport and Air Quality Committee. He said: “Long after the covid health crisis is behind us, we will still have to grapple with climate change and the challenge of pollution in our capital. For the sake of our health and the climate, we cannot afford to sleepwalk into a car-led recovery.
“That is why this council is supporting trials of less polluting 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 seek alternatives to the car.
“We know that some residents will have concerns about safety and the way these vehicles are used. I can reassure them that we will be vigilant throughout this e-scooter trial and we’re committed to taking action if any issues arise.
“Introducing new technology to our streets is rarely easy, but it is crucially important. Richmond residents will be amongst the vanguard of those testing and assessing these vehicles.
"On behalf of the council, I’d like to express my gratitude for residents’ co-operation during this exciting trial.”
Councillors unanimously approved the council’s participation in the trial at last night’s Transport and Air Quality Committee (Thursday, January 14), subject to TfL completing the necessary arrangements for the London trial.
Councillors were generally in favour of the scheme but did express some safety concerns.
The council says it will closely monitor the effects of the trial and has secured the right to alter or withdraw from the trial at any time.
Officers noted the popularity of similar trials in Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Norwich and Liverpool, but did add that early feedback had shown some issues with scooters being used on the pavements, people riding with an extra person, or parking inconsiderately.
On the same night, the committee also approved the introduction of a dockless-bike scheme to the borough, run by Lime.
To support both schemes and address concerns about the bicycles and e-scooters cluttering public footways, the council will be identifying specific space to accommodate the new vehicles.
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