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Escooters: More use of illegal models on Nottingham streets after trial company collapses

The use of illegal privately-owned e-scooters has increased on Nottingham streets since the collapse of the city’s official hire operator.

An e-scooter rental scheme, run by US-based Superpedestrian, was first introduced in the city as part of a Government-backed trial in 2020.

But at the end of last year the operator went into liquidation and its e-scooters were taken off city streets.

The council says it will be appointing a new operator and expects the scheme to re-start in the summer, after trials were extended by the Department for Transport until 2026.

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Electric scooters near Boots Library in Nottingham
© westbridgfordwire.com

During a Nottingham City Council full council meeting on Monday (January 15), the portfolio holder for transport, Cllr Angela Kandola (Lab), said: “E-scooters are a mode that the Government expects to legalise in the near future.

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“We are already seeing the increases in the use of illegal privately-owned e-scooters on our streets, with very limited control over their enforcement.

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Two riders on one escooter on Bridgford Road
© westbridgfordwire.com

“Rental e-scooters present a safer way to provide e-scooters which the council can control through the influencing of the operations of the service provider.

“It is disappointing to hear the operator, Superpedestrian, went into liquidation in December. The hire e-scooters were used by over 20,000 residents every month, who typically carried out 3,000 journeys per day.”

She had been responding to a question from Cllr Kevin Clarke, the leader of the Nottingham Independents and Independent opposition group, who asked if the council would reconsider the reintroduction of the scheme “given the concerns expressed by a number of residents”.

Calls have also been made for the introduction of compulsory training similar to a driving test for e-scooter riders.

Dr Petya Ventsislavova, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) who recently led research into e-scooter safety said: “This is a novel mode of transport and I don’t think it was taken with the seriousness it deserves, because at the end of the day they are still motorised vehicles.

“That is why we are advocating for a better education and compulsory training.

“Not just multiple-choice questions, with some information when you hire it, but actual training on how to operate them and how to perceive hazards, so very similar to the driving test.”

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E-scooters are legally classed as motor vehicles and as such can only be ridden on roads and in cycle lanes.

It remains illegal to ride privately-owned e-scooters in a public place.

Cllr Kandola added: “The comments from councillor Clarke are noted and the council is fully aware of the issues e-scooters can pose to pedestrian safety.

“I will try to reaffirm improper use is taking place by a minority of users and does not reflect the overall benefit e-scooters provide.

“Work continues to introduce more infrastructure to support more orderly parking, and the tender specification has been strengthened to seek an operator with tested approaches to reducing pavement riding.”

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