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£2 billion package to create new era for cycling, walking and trails for e-scooters

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£2 billion package to create new era for cycling, walking and trials for e-scooters

Many countries throughout Europe already successfully use e-scooters but currently they are not legal here in the UK, (unless on private land) however, that may all be about to change...

Lime is one of many company offering e-scooter rentals.

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Alternative ways to travel, such as walking and cycling, could relieve the pressure on public transport.

  • largest ever boost for cyclists and pedestrians
  • emergency bike lanes and streets will help support transport network
  • trials of rental e-scooters to be brought forward to increase green transport options
  • government working with leading tech developers to reduce crowding on public transport

Far more people will be cycling and walking thanks to plans to boost greener, active transport, launched today (9 May 2020) by Transport Secretary Grant  Shapps .

Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund - the first stage of a £2 billion investment, as part of the £5 billion in new funding announced for cycling and buses in February.

Following unprecedented levels of walking and cycling across the UK during the pandemic, the plans will help encourage more people to choose alternatives to public transport when they need to travel, making healthier habits easier and helping make sure the road, bus and rail networks are ready to respond to future increases in demand.

The government will fund and work with local authorities across the country to help make it easier for people to use bikes to get around - including Greater Manchester, which wants to create 150 miles of protected cycle track, and Transport for London, which plans a “bike Tube” network above Underground lines.

Fast-tracked statutory guidance, published today and effective immediately, will tell councils to reallocate roadspace for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians. In towns and cities, some streets could become bike and bus-only while others remain available for motorists. More side streets could be closed to through traffic, to create low-traffic neighbourhoods and reduce rat-running while maintaining access for vehicles.

Vouchers will be issued for cycle repairs, to encourage people to get their old bikes out of the shed, and plans are being developed for greater provision of bike fixing facilities. Many more will take up the Cycle to Work scheme, which gives employees a discount on a new bike.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

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During this crisis, millions of people have discovered cycling - whether for exercise or as a means of safe, socially-distanced transport. While there is no change to the ‘stay at home’ message today, when the country does get back to work we need those people to stay on their bikes and be joined by many more.

Otherwise, with public transport’s capacity severely restricted at this time, our trains and buses could become overcrowded and our roads gridlocked – holding up emergency services, critical workers and vital supplies.

We know cars will continue to remain vital for many, but as we look to the future we must build a better country with greener travel habits, cleaner air and healthier communities.

 

An updated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy will be launched by the Prime Minister in the summer, with further measures to transform cycling and walking to deliver the government’s aims to double cycling and increase walking by 2025 – including:

  • the creation of a national cycling and walking commissioner and inspectorate
  • higher standards for permanent infrastructure across England
  • getting GPs to prescribe cycling and exercise
  • creating a long-term budget for cycling and walking similar to what happens for roads

The government will also be launching a campaign to encourage more people to look at alternative ways to travel, to walk or get on a bike for their commute instead of public transport. Today, riders from Team Ineos, including Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, will be telling people to #GetPedalling.

Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Principal of Team INEOS, said:

If ever there was a good time to get on your bike, it’s now. You will be helping take pressure off public transport. You will be looking after your health. You will be looking after the health of others and you will be helping the environment. Let’s all get pedalling and help Britain on the road to recovery.

E-scooter trials will also be brought forward from next year to next month to help encourage more people off public transport and onto greener alternatives. Originally set to take place in 4 Future Transport Zones, the trials of rental e-scooters – which will now be offered to all local areas across the country – will allow government to assess the benefits of e-scooters as well as their impact on public space, with the potential to see rental vehicles on UK roads as early as June.

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Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands said:

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The West Midlands is proud to be leading the way on future transport development, and I am pleased the government has put its faith in us again with this new and innovative trial of e-scooters.

This trial will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the region, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home.

We will also use the trial to look at the current transport challenges the coronavirus pandemic has presented us with and explore how e-scooters could be used to help tackle them.

No region is better equipped than the West Midlands to test, review, and implement trials such as these at pace and scale, and that is testament to the hard work and innovation of those working in our future transport sector.

 

As the government aims to encourage people to choose greener forms of travel when the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, a further push is being made to encourage drivers to purchase an electric vehicle. An extra £10 million - double the current funding amount - is being committed to the on street residential chargepoint scheme which will allow local authorities to install up to 7,200 devices, making it more convenient to charge and own an electric vehicle.

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We hired the mall the time in the US a few years ago, I think they were Lyft or possibly even Uber scooters, but really good fun and nippy. They are definitely the future and cheaper than a taxi, less effort than a bike and more convenient than the bus in my opinion. The UK is way behind the rest of the world, so it is good to see the gov fast tracking these for trials this year.

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First e-scooter trial launched in Middlesbrough this week.

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A fleet of 100 are being distributed across Middlesbrough and nearby Hartlepool for anyone over the age of 18 to jump on, swipe an app and zip away.

In the age of coronavirus age, the thinking goes, they could ease pressure on public transport while helping ensure the economic recovery is not built solely on emission-spewing cars.

Tees Valley is the first place in Britain to pilot them, e-scooters are almost certainly coming to a town or city near you soon.

At least 50 local authorities are currently said to be in talks with different companies about launching similar schemes in their own areas. Portsmouth, Derby, Birmingham and Bristol are all hoping to launch trials later in the summer, while international scooter firms, such as Lime and Tier, are clamouring to be allowed into markets like London, Liverpool and Manchester.

If all goes well, bosses at Ginger – the British start-up behind the Middlesbrough trial – hope to have 10,000 of their black-and-orange models on British roads by next summer. Even rural locations could see an influx: council officials in Staffordshire are currently in talks with the firm about how they could be used to connect the county’s villages.

Source: Independant 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the go-ahead for an accelerated trial of e-scooters in a press briefing on May 9. As well as announcing £250 million for pop-up cycleways and widened sidewalks—part of a £2 billion package to boost cycling and walking—he said he was “fast-tracking trials of e-scooters, bringing this program forward from next year to next month.” 

He was doing this, he said, “in a bid to get e-scooter rental schemes up-and-running in our cities as fast as possible” to “reduce car use on shorter journeys.”

The trials will allow companies to offer rental e-scooters to adults only. Hirers will need driving licenses, either full or provisional, but won’t need to wear helmets. The e-scooters will be allowed to be ridden on roads and cycleways, but not on sidewalks or shared-use cycleway/sidewalk combos.

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