E-scooters are to be trialled in Copeland, the Department for Transport has announced.
Copeland is one of a number of trial areas chosen to assess the safety and impacts of e-scooters on the road, part of the Government’s Future of Transport regulatory review.
Ginger, a micro mobility company who provide electric scooters in cities across the UK will partner with Copeland Borough Council to deliver the project.
Trudy Harrison, Copeland MP, said: “Due to our area’s spinal mode of public transport which stretches the length of West Cumbria, many communities have a mile or so distance to travel to their nearest train station, which can often motivate the use of private car or prohibits the use of public transport entirely.
“E-scooters offer a potential solution if we can demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the rental system and if they are available and affordable, geofenced in areas where people can easily access them for work or their place of learning.
“The aim is to enable residents, businesses, or visitors to replace a short car journey with a scooter trip. As we approach the launch of the trials, I will be working closely with Copeland Borough Council, Northern Rail and local stakeholders to better connect our communities.”
The trial will launch with 15 Segway MAX models rising to a possible 80 dependent upon the amount of use.
The e-scooters will be limited to 15.5 mph (the same as e-bikes) and are permitted for use on public highways and dedicated cycle routes.
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “We are pleased to be accepted as a pilot area for trials of new e-scooters.
“The development of e-scooters fits in with our strategy of clean-technology capability and we believe there is a place for them as part of a modern, low-carbon offer.”
Mobility company, Ginger CEO Paul Hodgins said: ”We are very excited to be bringing one of the national e-scooter pilots to Whitehaven, with the valuable support of Trudy Harrison MP, and working together with Copeland Borough Council.
"Ginger had the first pilot in the country, and we are now live in multiple towns across the country. We believe in the ability of these emerging micro electric vehicles to transform local transport for the better, and we are keen to demonstrate that in Whitehaven.
"Like all our pilots we will start modestly, with dedicated parking locations, introducing them into Whitehaven in a controlled and safe manner. But we know there are many different journey types amongst residents, businesses, and visitors that these new vehicles will be able to serve over time, and we are looking forward to working with local stakeholders to demonstrate the benefits."
While trials are running, privately-owned e-scooters will remain illegal to use on the road, cycle lanes or pavements.
They will also be required to have motor insurance, but this will be provided by the rental operator.
Helmets are highly recommended when riding an e-scooter as well as light-coloured or fluorescent clothing.
For further information, please visit: www.gov.uk/guidance/e-scooter-trials-guidance-for-users