Riding privately-owned e-scooters on public roads, pavements or cycle lanes is still against the law, even in local authority areas conducting rental trials. Originally, the Government advised that rental e-scooter trials would take place across four areas in England. However, following a consultation over just two weeks in May and June last year, there are now more than 25 trials taking place across England. In addition, I believe our police forces are already overstretched.
I know that many disabled people have said the pandemic has left them feeling like an afterthought and worried about the future. We must emerge from coronavirus vowing to change this. Although the Government says it has engaged with organisations representing disabled people in the design of e-scooter trials, my concern is that a potentially major long-term transport policy development may be pushed forward without proper public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny.
It is increasingly clear that we must do more to improve our air quality and build back better by refocusing our economy around sustainable initiatives. E-scooters have the potential to be part of the mix, but given the concerns that have been raised about their use it is important that there is proper evaluation of the pilot schemes.
Any legislation to legalise private e-scooter use that follows must be accompanied by full public consultation and proper parliamentary scrutiny, as this has the potential to be a major development that will affect us all for the long term.