PEOPLE using new electric scooters in Stafford and Newcastle-under-Lyme following their introduction last month as part of a year-long trial are being reminded to ride safely – particularly during darker winter evenings.
In the first month, uptake of the scooters has been positive with over 2,000 journeys taken around the county.
The 12-month trial with e-scooter providers Ginger (Stafford) and Zwings (Newcastle), form part of the Department for Transport trials that were approved by the Government in July of this year.
Working in collaboration with Stafford and Newcastle borough councils, as well as with Ginger and Zwings, it’s hoped that 150 e-scooters will be available by the end of the year.
E-scooters are available at various sites across the two towns and accessing one can simply be done by registering and downloading the app from either Ginger or Zwings, following the instructions on screen.
To ensure that everyone gets the best experience, people are being reminded about essential safety and user advice.
Anyone using a scooter must have an account with one of the operators and hold at least a provisional driving license. Users must adhere to the rules of the road or could face fines, penalty points and prosecution for misuse.
This includes; the use of e-scooters in illegal areas such as pedestrianised zones, having more than one rider per vehicle and using another person’s account as these are linked to the verified driving license.
While scooters are legally allowed to travel at a maximum of 15.5mph, they have been capped in Staffordshire at 12mph. Users should only travel at a speed they are comfortable with or that is appropriate for the area.
As with cycling, all scooter riders are strongly advised to wear helmets. And with darker evenings now upon us, they should also wear light or high-vis items of clothing, so they are clearly seen by other vehicles on the road. All scooters are fitted with lights.
Scooter rides cannot begin after operator-set times in the evening, currently 10pm. All rides must finish at one of the designated spots which are marked on the operator’s app. Scooters are geofenced, enabling operators to virtually control them.
This includes controlling maximum speeds, setting boundaries of use, identifying restricted zones where scooter use might be unsafe and in setting slow-speed zones, which is particularly useful in areas where safety or congestion is an issue.
Staffordshire County Council’s highways and transport leader David Williams said: "As with cycling this simple safety measure could save your life. With the winter months ahead of us we also want to reiterate the message to be seen, be safe and wear appropriate clothing.
"We hope more people will take up scooter use as we expand the trial, bringing them an alternative and environmentally friendly mode of transport.”
People can find out more about the SIMULATE project visit https://simulate-adeptlivelabs.co.uk/