Transport for London (TfL) is beginning its rental e-scooter 12-month trial today (Monday 7 June), with Richmond upon Thames as one of the trial boroughs.

The trial will test the viability and safety of e-scooters as part of the long-term solution to the serious air quality and congestion issues across London.

Operators Dott, Lime and TIER have been appointed to take part in the trial following the selection process, thanks to their ability to meet strict safety requirements and high operating standards.

The trial vehicles will be the only legal e-scooters on Richmond’s roads. Due to their different specifications and lower safety features, it remains illegal for privately-owned e-scooters to be used on the borough’s roads, pavements, parks and town centres.

E-scooters continue to be classed as motor vehicles. Users must be 18 or over and have a full or provisional driving licence to rent an e-scooter. The police will enforce against illegal use of e-scooters and the operating companies will take remedial action against users who do not comply with the law or the rules of the trial. The operating companies can issue warnings, training or ban an individual from using e-scooters.

Safety is at the core of the trial throughout, and data shared by the operators will play a vital role in helping to shape London and the UK’s future policy on e-scooters, including whether they could form part of London’s sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The safety standards include:

  • A maximum speed of 12.5mph
  • User education and awareness
  • Lights at the front and the rear of the vehicles that are always on throughout any rental
  • Audible warning systems that can be used without adjusting the rider’s grip of the handlebar
  • Geofence technology to support parking and riding only in authorised locations

The rental e-scooters will only be allowed to be used on roads and in cycleways - not on footways. Users can take or deposit e-scooters at specifically designated parking bays (all of which are on-road). Geofencing technology will ensure that the hire of the rental e-scooter will only end once it has been left in one of these on-street geofenced parking bays.

View parking locations in the borough - more detail is available on the operators’ apps.

Dott, Lime and TIER e-scooter are available to hire from 7 June and users will need to download the operators’ apps. Rental pricing depends on the operator.

Richmond Council and TfL will closely monitor the effects of the trial, which has the potential to add to the transport options within the Borough, subject to understanding its impact on other road users and safety. Richmond Council reserves the right to withdraw from the trial and cease operations for any reason if the trial proves unsustainable.

View more information on the trial. Information can also be found on TfL’s website.

Cllr Alexander Ehmann, Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Committee, said:

“Our health and the climate are at risk from the huge amounts of pollution caused by vehicles in London. It’s vital that we explore less-polluting modes of transport and TfL’s e-scooter trial is the perfect opportunity to do this.

“The trial will allow TfL to better understand how e-scooters can be used safely in London. Residents can rest assured that the Council will monitor the trial closely and will take action if any issues do arise.

“Too often, outer London boroughs like our own miss out on important transport upgrades like this. I’m proud that Richmond upon Thames’ residents will have the opportunity to test this new technology and help policy-makers in Richmond, City Hall and Whitehall understand whether it can play a safe and useful role in our country’s transport mix.”

– from a Richmond Council press release - 7 June 2021