AA to provide online road safety lessons for e-scooter riders | World news

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The AA is to give road safety lessons to e-scooter riders, as operators launch what is billed as the first theory test for the latest form of transport on Britain’s streets.

Under the scheme, e-scooter riders will be taught how to operate and park the vehicles and share the road safely with cars, pedestrians and vulnerable users.

Complaints of antisocial behaviour have been recorded in areas around the UK where pilot rental schemes have been introduced this year under the government’s 12-month trial period. The AA’s DriveTech division, which more usually re-educates driving offenders on police referral, will deliver the online lessons.

A theory test will ask riders questions such as “why is it important to park responsibly?” and “what is the preferred route to use scooters?”

The first UK test and course is being designed by Tier, one of the biggest European operators, which hopes to win a contract with Transport for London after the capital issued a tender last week for potentially the most lucrative market in Britain.

TfL said it would prioritise safety and require any operator to start the scheme cautiously, with features including geofencing to limit speeds or stop vehicles entirely in no-go areas.

The president of the AA, Edmund King, said he was excited about e-scooters but that training was vital. “There’s been a degree of ignorance – can I use it on a pavement? should I be in a bus lane ?– but hopefully the trials will sort out those problems,” he said.

“Ultimately, with the remnants of Covid, whether we like it or not, people are going to be avoiding public transport in our big cities and this e-mobility is going to be a big part of the mix. For responsible e-scooter companies to get involved and offer training is really important, and that’s why we’re trying to offer our road safety experience.”

Safety concerns have led Tier and others to introduce features including built-in helmets and indicator lights, along with pledges to add sounds to alert blind and visually-impaired people. Fred Jones, Tier’s general manager for the UK and Ireland, said the company had “raised the standards for responsible e-scooter use”.

The rollout of e-scooters across the north-east of England was paused this year after the first trials in Middlesbrough included incidents such as users riding them on a dual carriageway. Another scheme in the West Midlands was quickly suspended after a barrage of complaints from shoppers about antisocial behaviour.

MPs have called for the full legalisation of e-scooters in the UK. Privately owned e-scooters are prohibited on public roads despite their widespread use.



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