Rented e-scooters look set to ride to the rescue as the UK begins to return to work. And according to new research from Uswitch.com, Newcastle is the city most likely to give the green light to this emission-free mode of transport. The tricky issue of liability in the event of an accident when a hire scooter is being used by someone who rides it illegally, recklessly or under the influence of alcohol, should make for an interesting test case one day.
These scooters are really fun, but doing 15mph in busy traffic, cutting through urban streets by using urban piazzas or shopping mall spaces, may be too tempting for many ridesharing users, so who will pick up the tab if things go wrong?
Taking a seed list 40 of the UK’s most populous cities, the energy team at Uswitch have analysed the ‘e-scootability’ of each city, based on metrics such as air quality, pothole complaints, bike thefts and planned cycle with a maximum score of 70 available.
Scoring 50 out of 70 available points, Newcastle topped the index, owing to 13km of planned cycle lanes and 8,306 potential commuters who could benefit from the rental scheme.
The North is home to the most e-scootable cities. Seven out of the top 10 are located in the north of England; Newcastle, Carlisle, Hull, Salford, Preston, Manchester and Sunderland all score high on the e-scootability index.
The air quality rankings saw Preston and Carlisle top the list which would make for a pleasant e-scooter commute. Cities scoring low on this metric such as Wolverhampton and Wakefield could also benefit from the emission free advantages that e-scooter bring.
The study also scored each city based on the number of pothole complaints made via FixMyStreet. Leeds had the smoothest roads for scootering, followed by Exeter and Cambridge.
To understand the potential uptake of e-scooters, we scored each city based on the commuters already using two wheels to get to work. Cambridge topped the list with 15.34% of the population already cycling, followed by Westminster (12.42%), Oxford (8.75%) and York (5.29%).
Will Owen, Energy Expert from Uswitch comments on the results of the e-scootability index:
“Cities all over the UK have been working hard to stop the spread of COVID-19 and with lockdown finally easing, we’re seeing a welcome push towards climate-friendly transport options such as e-scooters.
“Later this year, the UK will join several European countries including Spain, France and Italy following the release of the DfT’s e-scooter rental framework. 50 city councils have already applied to be part of the trial.
“But the research behind the e-scootability index revealed that some cities were more ‘geared’ up for their arrival than others, with cities in the north making up 70% of the top 10 list.
“Rental e-scooters will be banned from footpaths to protect pedestrians so road safety is another factor that needs to be considered. Alongside the obvious environmental benefits of e-scooter rental schemes, there are many other factors for regulators to consider. Not least of which is third party, and rider, personal injury insurance.
The E-Scootability Index can be seen in full here: http://uswitch.com/gas-electricity/uk-cities-ready-for-electric-scooters/