Bournemouth and Poole set for e-scooter trial scheme

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Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
It remains illegal to use an e-scooter on the road, outside of government-approved trials

A trial hire scheme for electric-powered scooters is set to be introduced in Bournemouth and Poole.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council announced 25 so-called e-scooters will be available for use on public roads and cycle paths.

It said they would provide an "innovative emission-free transport" option for both residents and visitors.

Apart from government-approved trials, it is currently illegal to use privately-owned e-scooters on roads.

BCP Council said its initial trial is due to run from 25 January 2021 until November.

Image caption,
Users will be able to pick up and drop off the e-scooters at 250 marked parking bays

Users with a valid driving licence will be able to book a ride through a smartphone app and can pick up and drop off the e-scooters at 250 marked parking bays.

The e-scooters are limited to a top speed of 12.5mph and are equipped with a speedometer, bell and on-board GPS tracking system.

'Convenient and attractive'

The initial operating zone of the hop-on, hop-off trial is within Poole and Bournemouth as their "hillier nature" is more suited to e-scooters than Christchurch.

The system will be managed by Beryl Bikes, the provider of the existing cycle hire scheme.

The company is already running trial schemes in Norwich and on the Isle of Wight.

Councillor Mike Greene, BCP Council's transport chief, said the system would be "safe, compliant and well-managed".

"Our conurbation is one of the most congested in the country and we need to offer convenient and attractive alternatives to the car for shorter journeys in particular," he said.

The wearing of a helmet while riding is advised but not compulsory and the e-scooters will not be permitted on pavements.

It was announced last month that a larger Transport for London trial of e-scooter hire will soon begin across the London boroughs.

Year-long trials due to start in the spring have also been announced for Southampton, Winchester and Portsmouth, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Conrad Haigh, head of Solent Transport said the trial was "the first step in an exciting journey of change and improvement" in the region's transport policy.

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