Following a meeting between the National Motorcycle Dealers Association and the Department for Transport, the e-scooter has been reclassified as a ‘Powered Transporter’ as opposed to an Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle.
The reasoning behind this is due to the dubious requirement for ‘power propulsion through human action’, which in the case of the e-scooter is very rarely the case.
This all came about as the NMDA sent a letter to Rachel Maclean MP stating their concerns. The discussions were held over a virtual conference on the 17th of September, and the NMDA also took the chance to reiterate their support for the Government plans for decarbonisation and carbon net-zero strategies.
Powered Transporters are being trialled by the government in the UK, and rental companies are theoretically the only e-scoots allowed on public land – otherwise, it’s a strictly ‘private land with owners permission’ type deal.
Perhaps the additional insurances provided by rental companies allow for that peace of mind where they are used in pedestrianised areas.
Is the e-scooter the way forward?
Paddy O’Connell, head of NMDA, said:
“Following a recent letter to Rachel Maclean MP, it was encouraging to meet with the Minister and Government officials to discuss the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA) members’ position regarding e-scooter trials and their future regulation”
“By properly regulating, training and registering e-scooters, there is a natural route to market through established dealer networks that already offer rider training, safety equipment and have the facilities to register new vehicles.
“We will continue to voice our members’ views and liaise with DfT on this important topic”.
Discussions between the two parties signal the potential for the NMDA to have a voice in the future of e-scooter laws, and in particular, they have called for:
- Compulsory accredited road awareness training for those without full licenses (to last 24 months)
- Wearing of safety equipment
- Minimum rider age of 14
- Unique identifiers on all e-scooters
- Registration of e-scooters through RaV portal
- Mandatory liability insurance
The topic of e-scooter riding is hugely contentious – at the moment basically, anyone can jump on one with next to no safety gear, and fly around on the town/city streets at speed. But on the flip side, they provide an incredibly convenient means of getting around independently.
There may be plenty of hoops for the gov to jump through before we see any change (what’s new) but it’ll be interesting to see how this develops over time.