Electric scooters would beat cars on up to 70 per cent of city centre journeys, study reveals
Electric scooters could cut journey times in some of the UK’s most gridlocked cities by up to 70 per cent if they were made road legal, a new study has revealed.
With an average speed of 12mph, electric scooters and bikes could complete short journeys quicker than vehicles in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Sheffield, according to traffic information supplier Inrix.
Researchers evaluated trillions of pieces of data from connected devices including cars, mobile phones and road sensors and found that more than two-thirds of car journeys in congested urban areas are less than three miles (4.8km).
If a fraction of these were replaced with scooter and bike trips, cities could “reap significant benefits” Inrix said, with Manchester identified the UK city which would stand to see its journey times reduced most.
Electric scooters, electric bikes and shared bikes have the potential to shorten journey times for 69% of trips currently made by car.
But early efforts to establish an electric bike hire network was thwarted in September last year, after a spate of thefts and vandalism led to Chinese firm Mobike pulling out of the city.
Bikes were thrown in waterways, set on fire or left hanging from railings, while others had their locks smashed.
While the bikes are legal, electric scooters are not currently allowed on public roads or pavements, and the government is still in the middle of a review on ‘the future of mobility’.
Transport minister Michael Ellis said earlier this summer: “We are examining whether they can be used safely on the road – and if so, how that should be regulated to ensure the public’s safety. However, companies must understand that reviewing laws does not necessarily mean laws will change.”
Despite the current law, people have been seen riding on public roads, and in July, YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge, 35, became the first person in the UK to be killed while riding an electric scooter when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea, south London.
Report author and Inrix transportation analyst Trevor Reed warned that existing legislation and public awareness “does not do enough to encourage micromobility”.
He said: “The Government should review options to legalise e-scooters and assess the current opportunities to increase road safety for all users.
“We urge authorities to use more data-based decision making to ensure the smart deployment of these services.”