E-scooters: what are the rules in Liverpool?

Voi scooters in Liverpool Voi scooters in Liverpool
Voi scooters in Liverpool

The Swedish-based company Voi, suppliers of e-scooters for the Liverpool pilot which started in October last year, are hosting a free safety training session on Friday for members of the public.

Liverpool City Council have been working with Voi to address concerns around safety and are delivering a campaign to remind users about road safety and their responsibilities while riding.

The council announced a set of new measures in June designed to improve safety of the city’s e-scooter trial.

Since the scheme was launched in October, more than 800,000 rides have been taken so far and over 1.8 million miles travelled by users of the pilot.

At the launch of the trial, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said that he wanted Liverpool’s transport network to be as cheap, quick and green as possible and that e-scooters could offer residents and tourists alike a ‘quick and convenient way to get around the city centre, as happens in many European cities.’

LiverpoolWorld looks at the information available about e-scooters in the city.

Rules at a glance

- It is against the law to ride an e-scooter on the pavement.

- The e-scooters travel at a maximum speed of around 10mph, reducing to 5mph in areas with high numbers of pedestrians.

- Voi has advised that riders should always wear a helmet.

- Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol and only have one person per scooter.

- Users need to have at least a provisional driving license and be 18 years old to hire an e-scooter.

- Use is electronically restricted to the city centre.

New measures

Parking bays

New painted parking bays added across Liverpool, with a plans for more than 400 over the coming months. £25 fines will continue to be issued for illegal or dangerous parking.

Limits at weekends

At weekends use of the e-scooters will be more controlled, with certain additional areas designated as ‘no riding zones’ and no service after 9pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Strike policy

Stronger enforcement of Voi’s strike policy. Users breaking rules of the road will be issued with temporary (one week, one month) or permanent bans.

Fixed parking

Users will be required to park in specific parking zones in most areas.

Voi ambassadors

Voi has increased the number of its ambassadors on the ground in Liverpool to help improve the safety of the trial. The company has advised that riders should always wear a helmet, never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol and only have one person per scooter.

Voi is also trialling on-board smart cameras, designed to detect the presence of pedestrians and recognise if a scooter is on a footpath, cycle lane or road. The technology is being used as part of the Northampton pilot.

Merseyside Police have been running a month of action during August to raise awareness around the legal implications of private scooter use.

LiverpoolWorld spoke to Matrix Roads Policing Inspector Carl McNulty.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in the use of private scooters.”

He said that 80% to 90% of privately owned e-scooters are bought from the internet and people have been adapting them so they can travel up to speeds of 30mph to 40mph.

“We are trying to reach out to people and campaigning across the media to teach them the law that private scooters are classed as motor vehicles and should only be used on private land.”

He said some of the retailers who do sell private e-scooters are trying to make potential buyers aware of the law before purchasing.

“We have arrested people for drink driving on e-scooters and there is an issue of people not viewing e-scooters as motor vehicles. They may not report to police if there has been a crash.

“The NHS has seen a rise in emergency department injuries, including a surge in liver injuries related to the height of the e-scooter handlebars.

“E-scooters may ultimately be a cheaper, beneficial way of travelling, but like a motorcycle, there should be a certificate of basic training.”

He explained the police did have to use additional resources to cope with e-scooters when the Voi pilot initially started, but that officers now know e-scooters are part of the everyday process of policing the city.

Hire policy

- Users of the e-scooter pilot scheme need to download a Voi app and register with their mobile number.

- An available scooter can be located nearby using the map function in the app.

- E-scooters cost £1 to unlock, plus £0.20 per minute.

- Unlimited daily and monthly passes are also available.

- Discounted travel passes (75% off) are available for low income groups and NHS workers.

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