Smart Transport

Legalising private e-scooters will benefit lower income groups, says Pure Electric

Pure Electric is one brand currently selling e-scooters for private use in the UK

Legalising private e-scooters on public roads has the potential to transform commuting options for the lowest earners, according to new research by Pure Electric.

Adam Norris, founder of micromobility specialist Pure Electric, has written to the Prime Minister to include legislation for the safe use of private e-scooters as part of the upcoming Queen’s Speech on 11 May.

The Queen’s Speech will set out the Government’s agenda for the next Parliamentary session and its plans to build back better from the pandemic and level-up opportunities across the country.

The new research follows on from a recent report from PACTS, which urged the Department for Transport (DfT) to tackle illegal use of private e-scooters following 11 fatalities and at least 900 casualties.

Pure Electric has committed to working with the Government to establish a "world-leading regulatory regime", sharing best practice from across the globe.

The company believes that this should include a  requirement for all e-scooters to have number plates, mandatory insurance, and the introduction of a code of conduct in safe use. 

Norris said: “We need the Government to act now, bringing forward legislation this year.

“We want to see the UK  introduce the world’s most ambitious regulatory framework that protects all road users while ensuring  that the benefits of e-scooters can be realised.”

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, Norris highlights that the current legal framework is not adequately protecting road users,  and while holding back the opportunity that e-scooters – under a clear regulatory regime – can deliver: “Legitimate concerns over safety need to be addressed.

"These can only be effectively resolved through  an ambitious regulatory framework that protects everyone using the public highway and ensures the  UK doesn’t miss out on the development of exciting new technology.”

E-scooter survey results

Pure Electric’s research of over 2,000 people shows that lower earners are more likely to use e-scooters to replace a car journey compared to higher income earners.

Three quarters of those earning under £25k say that “all” or “most” of their e-scooter  journeys would replace ones otherwise taken by car – this is 57% among higher earners (more  than £50k per annum).

Nearly two thirds (63%) of the public said they would consider using a private e-scooter if it was legalised, highlighting the potential scale of the  opportunity.

Over half of this group have yet to ride an e-scooter – for example through a rental  trial scheme – showing the impact that legislation could have.

Affordability and convenience are identified as the top reasons for wanting to use an e-scooter  if legalised.

The top three reasons for those considering using an e-scooter if legalised are: ease  of storage (51%), being less expensive than other modes of transport (49%), and portability (46%).

If legalised, those considering using an e-scooter would use them regularly for routine journeys. Of those surveyed, 60% predict that a majority of their e-scooter trips would otherwise have been done by car.

If e-scooters were to be legalised, Pure Electric predicts at least 43,000 journeys per week would replace a car trip, which is 2.2 million over the whole year.

Pure Electric estimates that around 82.3 tonnes of carbon would be reduced from entering the atmosphere per week as a result of modal shift, or 4,280 tonnes a year with the carbon offset impact equivalent to planting 240,000 trees.

Half of the respondants believe that privately owned e-scooters should be legalised in public spaces.

Almost 20% disagree (19%), with the remainder being ambivalent or saying they don’t know.

The majority of respondents (80%) said that they would ‘feel safer if certain measures were put in place to regulate how people used e-scooters.

Compulsory insurance (47%) and speed limits (42%)  were identified as the measures which the public most want to see.

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