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E-scooter public hire trial - Frequently asked questions

Read our frequently asked questions about the e-scooter public hire trial.

Why is the Council taking part in the E-scooter rental trial?

The trial provides an opportunity to explore the potential for this new mode of transport to reduce road congestion and improve air quality. It will inform the Department for Transport’s future policy on e-scooters.

The Council’s decision to take part in the London e-scooter trial is set out in the report to the Transport and Air Quality Committee in January 2020 with an update in November 2021.

How is the trial being monitored?

Council officers have regular (fortnightly) meetings with each of the operating companies and with Transport for London (TfL) to review data and any reported incidents relating to the trial. A monthly safety board includes representatives from participating boroughs, TfL, London councils, the Metropolitan Police and the operating companies.

TfL publishes statistics on e-scooter usage every four weeks during the trial.

A data platform also enables Council officers to spot check the locations of e-scooters in the borough at any time.

Who is using the e-scooters? And what trips are they using them for?

The Department for Transport is leading on research into the demographics of people using e-scooters across the trials in different parts of the country. They are also investigating the extent to which e-scooters are being used to replace other modes of transport – whether walking, cycling, public transport, or car. The data being collected on the London trial indicates that e-scooters are being used for local journeys, with the average trip distance typically being less than 3km.

How were the operators selected?

Transport for London led an open procurement process, applying selection criteria that were developed with collaboration from London councils and from London boroughs.

How is the trial being funded?

The operating companies make upfront and periodic payments, administered by TfL and distributed to the participating boroughs and TfL to contribute towards the costs involved in running the trial.

Have people been injured in the course of the trial?

You can find out more about the trial, including safety features of the rental e-scooters on the TfL website. You can also view the headline metrics relating to the London trial including the number of trips and injuries. There have been no serious injuries recorded in Richmond in connection with the use of a rental e-scooter.

Are people using e-scooters when drunk?

The same limits on drinking alcohol apply as to other motor vehicles. There has been clear communication about this from the operators and from TfL. Additional measures include prompts when people unlock an e-scooter late at night or on occasions when it is known that there is likely to be widespread drinking.  As of July 2022, there has been one reported incident of drunk riding a rental e-scooter since the London trial began.

People aren’t allowed to use e-scooters on pavements – what is being done to make people ride safely?

When people register with any of the e-scooter operators they are taken through a number of questions about safe riding to ensure that people understand – among other things - that e-scooters are not for use on pavements (unless there is designated share use with cyclists).

Each e-scooter in the rental trial has a number plate. If an incident of unsafe riding is reported to the relevant operating company with sufficient evidence, they can track the rider involved and ban them from use of the service.

Riding an e-scooter on the pavement is also an offence that can be enforced by the police.

Are people using rental e-scooters for criminal purposes?

The tracking technology used on rental e-scooters makes them an unattractive transport choice for criminal purposes.

Why aren’t helmets compulsory for people using an e-scooter?

The Department for Transport set the minimum standards for trials of rental e-scooters and as part of this, helmets are not mandatory. Operators taking part in the London E-scooter Trial are required to recommend and promote the use of helmets. The operators have run and continue to run activities such as giving away helmets at their training and promotional events.

Are the parking locations attracting anti-social behaviour?

When the trial first launched in summer 2021 we received a small number of reports (4) of disturbance caused by people using e-scooters inconsiderately late at night. We have received no reports of this type since August 2021. We have received no reports of these locations attracting loitering or similar.

Why was this location chosen?

We are aware that in many locations across the borough, space for parking cars is highly valued by many residents. It is a condition of participating in the trial that e-scooter parking locations must be provided.

The Council has taken the decision that parking locations for these new motor vehicles should be located on the carriageway. The reason for this decision was because it reinforces the message that these vehicles are to be used on the road and it also keeps the pavements clear for their intended purpose. One car parking space has room for up to 14 e-scooters and therefore the capacity to support many more local trips than one private car.

As the locations that have been proposed are currently available for parking cars or vans, they are not expected to create any additional hindrance to passing vehicles.  Operators have a responsibility to keep the bays tidy. Any issues should be reported to the operators and copied to the Council at if not resolved promptly.

Grassed areas are generally not suitable because the surface needs to be relatively level and we need to be able to mark the extent of the bay.

For a successful e-scooter rental scheme a comprehensive network or parking locations is required in order to maximise the number of journeys that can be carried out conveniently. For example the Santander Cycle Hire docking stations are located at intervals of around 500m.

  • Parking locations near transport hubs such as railway or tube stations are likely to be well-used as people can take an e-scooter or hire cycle for the start of their journey or to reach their final destination
  • People are also likely to want to reach other local amenities such as shops, libraries, sports facilities and other leisure and workplaces. (Note that e-scooters are not suitable for transporting children or large loads)
  • Residential areas also need to be served so that people can use a scooter to reach their chosen destination. E-scooters and cycle hire have a role to play in serving those areas not currently well served by public transport as well as providing greater flexibility to complement existing services.

The Council cannot designate space on privately-owned land – though in some cases the operating companies may make arrangements with landowners such as hotels or railway companies.

The Council cannot designate space on roads that are managed by Transport for London, such as the A316 or the A205. We are however, liaising with TfL to investigate potential locations on their network.

We are grateful to people who have made suggestions for alternative/additional locations for parking bays and we will be looking into these.

What will happen on match days?

It may be appropriate for some bays closest to Twickenham Stadium to be suspended on special event days in line with road closures.  If appropriate, operators would be required to clear the bay of e-scooters and bikes in advance of the event and to disable the bay on their apps so that customers know they can’t be used.

Why didn’t I get a letter?

We have written to the properties close to the proposed locations. Some people have contacted us to alert us that they have not received a letter. We are checking these reports with the delivery company.

Other issues

In responding to our letter about the e-scooter and cycle hire parking bays, some people have raised questions on other topics. For more information, please see the links below:

Updated: 05 September 2022

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