The first trial of rental e-scooters in the UK will take place across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool – with the pilot rolling out later this month.
The announcement by Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen comes days after the UK government changed the legal status of e-scooters, which are currently banned on roads and pavements in the UK under existing traffic laws.
Houchen and Tees Valley Combined Authority have partnered with UK-based e-scooter company Ginger to deliver the trial.
The change in legislation means e-scooters that are part of the trial will be permitted where bikes are allowed, on roads, cycle lanes and tracks where possible.
Draft legislation implies that riders must be over 16 years-old, have at least a provisional driving licence and that helmets are recommended. Details of the local pilot currently being finalised.
Plans are now well advanced on where the e-scooters will be located across every local authority area, with 100 e-scooters initially involved in the trial.
At the start of the trial each parking location will be strictly geo-fenced so users must leave their e-scooters in these locations at the end of the ride, with Ginger responsible for the charging of scooters.
As the trial progresses Ginger will look at introducing on-street charging and docking locations.
Houchen said: “Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are leading the UK in new, clean and innovate technologies. E-scooters are a part of that.
“I have been a big fan of e-scooters for a very long time, and when the government announced their plans to fast track their introduction, it was obvious that our region should be the first trial area.
“So, I am thrilled that the UK’s first trail on e-scooters on UK roads will take place across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”
Paul Hodgins, CEO of Ginger, added: “I am delighted to be introducing Ginger e-scooters to Tees Valley as part of the pioneering government scheme to trial this exciting new form of transport.
“I strongly believe micro e-mobility offers unique solutions to today’s transport challenges.
“It is great that the Tees Valley mayor and the transport secretary are making this public pilot the first in the UK, choosing to work with Ginger, a British innovator and transport provider.”
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