The regulation of private e-scooters continues to be a discussed topic, one on which UK Transport Minister Jesse Norman believes more data and public consultation is required.
During a Transport Select Committee hearing, UK Transport Minister Jesse Norman was questioned by MPs about the next government steps. Norman’s response was that the department still requires, “non-pandemic large-scale e-scooter usage data” in addition to the public’s views on any legislation. Norman continued, “We need to talk to people and say, ‘Look, here are insurance alternatives. What do you think? Here’s the evidence on helmets. What do you think? Here’s the evidence on safety. What do you think? We certainly don’t have a consolidated basis of consultative evidence.”
In response, opposing Labour MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw, commented that enough time has already been spent: “I think the government wants to regulate and agrees with us on this. I don’t think you’re getting a lot of opposition, so please just get on with it.”
According to Norman, the decision on when to send the Transport Act to Parliament is currently being considered by MPs: “It wouldn’t be an immediate action even if there was time in Parliament now. But even if that were available, there are still several intermediate steps, potentially another round of consultation, an extension of some trial work, more focused trial work potentially, before we get to that stage.”
Safety concerns are being considered alongside the benefits of e-scooters that include connecting communities hampered by public transport. Norman talked of a balance that was required, further commenting, “My goal is to continue to push ahead with this, pull out the lessons we’re getting on the issues I’ve raised and then try to put them in front of the public to have a proper conversation about it and take that debate forward another stage.”
In May 2022, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (DfT) Baroness Vere of Norbiton, announced that the UK Government would be creating a new low-speed zero-emission vehicle category and the bill would be submitted in the current parliamentary session. However, last December, the DfT postponed the Transport Bill details, part of the forthcoming Future of Transport legislation. Trials are now extended to May 2024.