Since e-scooters for hire were introduced in Liverpool in October 2020 there have been 800,000 rides taken with users travelling 1.8 million miles – but the boom has raised safety concerns. Tony McDonough reports
New measures are being introduced in Liverpool to allay safety fears following a boom in the popularity of e-scooters.
Following on from the success of Liverpool bike hire facilities, an e-scooter hire scheme was launched in the city in October 2020. So far there have been more than 800,000 rides taken so far and over 1.8m miles travelled by users.
While most rides are completed safely and without incident there is concern the e-scooters can create a hazard for pedestrians and other road users. Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has visited the Liverpool offices and warehouse of e-scooter operator Voi to discuss some of the issues raised by the public.
Following the meeting Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Liverpool City Council and Voi have worked together on a set of changes to the way the pilot operates. They include:
- New painted parking bays added across Liverpool, with a plans for more than 400 over the coming months – and £25 fines will continue to be issued for illegal or dangerous parking.
- At weekends use of the e-scooters will be more controlled, with certain additional areas designated as ‘no riding zones’ and a full stop of the service after 9pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Stronger enforcement of Voi’s strike policy – users breaking rules of the road will be issued temporary (one week, one month) or permanent bans.
- A shift over the summer from free-floating model, where users can park wherever they choose within reason, to one where they will be required to park in specific parking zones in most areas.
Voi have also increased the number of its ambassadors on the ground in Liverpool to help improve the safety of the trial. The company has also begun to host free safety and training events in the city with more planned over the coming months.
All users of the e-scooters must be over 18 and have at least a provisional driving licence, with it being an offence to allow any younger people to use their account to unlock the vehicles. Private e-scooters are not covered by the trial and remain illegal to use on all public roads.
Mr Rotheram said: “As part of my plans for an integrated London-style transport network, I want to increase the number of cheap, quick and green travel options available to people in our region.
“E-scooters offer residents and visitors alike a quick and convenient way to get around the city centre and surrounding areas, and the since the trial launched nine months ago I’m told that it has become one of the most popular schemes in Europe.
“However, it’s vital that e-scooters are used safely and properly and following discussions with Voi, I’m pleased to say that they are going to make changes to how the scooters are used and try to address some of the safety worries that people have brought to my attention.”
According to Voi data, e-scooters rides have replaced more than 275,000 private car trips in Liverpool, saving over 248 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The most popular areas to ride a Voi e-scooter are around public transport locations including Liverpool Central Station, Liverpool One Bus Station, Liverpool James Street and Pier Head.