Report sets out legal framework for micromobility vehicles

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Warwick University has proposed a set of regulations that will allow micromobility vehicles such as e-scooters to operate legally in Britain.

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The report - aimed at supporting regulatory change through parliament - looks at ways to improve the quality and safety of models available, as well as providing clear guidance for authorities to deal with unsafe behaviour.

To that end, WMG researchers at Warwick University, with support from Cenex, has published ‘Micromobility, a UK roadmap’, which provides a set of standards for eScooters, a cargo variant and other micro vehicles.

In a statement, lead author John Fox, programme director at WMG at Warwick University, said “The purpose of the 'Micromobilty, a UK roadmap’, is to provide regulations on how powered micromobility vehicles could be designed and operated in the UK.

“It’s important that these vehicles are high quality, safe, and legal. They can provide a low-carbon mobility option which is available to everybody, allowing us to make choices about how we travel, and stimulating future innovation which will accelerate a market for UK manufacturers.”

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100 organisations representing road users, safety groups, transport authorities and industry helped shape the roadmap that, if adopted, could see members of the public legally operating eScooters and other micromobility vehicles by mid-2023.

Micromobility is a key part of achieving net-zero emissions for transport and for many journeys walking or using micromobility are much better for the environment than using a car. The economic benefits are also compelling both in the cost of the vehicle and the manufacturing opportunities, which could move abroad without legislative change.

Roadmap recommendations:

  • The creation of a new vehicle category “Powered Micro Vehicles” and three initial new vehicle types in the category: eScooter, Light Electric Cargo Vehicle, Electric Light Moped.
  • Specific standards and regulations for each vehicle type, including speed limits and weight limits.
  • Vehicles must be registered and be visually identifiable.
  • Cardinal design requirements around minimum wheel size and redundancy of braking systems, so there is a secondary method of slowing the vehicle down.
  • Daytime running lights, a sound emitter and indicators are required to improve visibility for current road users.
  • No use on the pavement in any circumstance, and instead use on roads and cycle-ways.
  • Minimum ages for operating the vehicles, and PPE recommendations.
  • New powers for local policing and PCSOs in England and Wales, to fine breaches and illegal use.

“In order to lower emissions from transport, it is crucial we find a way forward that allows the UK micromobility market to grow sustainably and safely for all,” said Robert Evans, CEO at Cenex. “The growth in e-bike use and the popularity of e-scooter trials have demonstrated that electric powered micro vehicles will have a significant role in our future transport systems. The right legislation and regulations must enable this whilst minimising any potential negative impacts.”