Which UK cities are ready for electric scooters?

The Department of Transport (DfT) published the first official framework for the rental of electric scooters, which made it possible to start testing from July 4.

Until recently, electric scooters were completely banned on UK roads, but pilot tests for rental electric scooters were quickly put in place, with the aim of discouraging workers from using their cars when they are returning to work after the UK lockdown is eased.

The electric scooter rental trials were originally scheduled to take place in just four transport zones, but will now be offered in all regions of the country. So far 50 municipalities * have expressed interest in hosting an electric scooter rental scheme, but which of the UK’s biggest cities are really ready to give the green light to electric scooters?

The e-scootability index

Taking 40 of the UK’s most populous cities, the energy Uswitch’s team analyzed the ‘e-scootability‘from each city, based on air quality, pothole complaints, bike theft and cycle lanes predicted to give a maximum score out of 70.

Score 50 of the 70 available points, Newcastle is the city with the most e-scootability. With over 13 km of planned cycle paths and just nine pothole complaints in the past year **, making the city the perfect candidate for an electric scooter trial.

Mapping UK cities ready for electric scooters

The North is ready for the arrival of electric scooters

The North is home to the most e-scootable cities. Seven of the top 10 are located in the north of England; Newcastle, Carlisle, Hull, Salford, Preston, Manchester and Sunderland all score high on the e-scootability index.

With an overall score of 42/70, Manchester has the most pop-up cycle lanes and over 24 km of planned cycle lanes where e-scooter riders can safely get from A to B.

Smooth travel

When it comes to road quality, we rated each city based on the number of pothole complaints filed through FixMyStreet. Leeds had the smoothest roads for the scooter, followed by Exeter and Cambridge. With over 400 pothole complaints combined, it looks like the roads of London and Manchester could get some attention to get them ready for electric scooters.

a breath of fresh air

Using the Numbeo Air Pollution Index score ***, we rated each city based on the potential pollution levels that electric scooter riders would face.

Preston (16.79) and Carlisle (19.89) tops the list of cities with the best air quality, making them a great candidate for electric scooter testing. It can be argued that cities with very poor air quality like Wolverhampton (63.22) and Wakefield (62.07) could also benefit from an emission-free option such as electric scooters.

Planned cycle paths

The index rated each city according to the length of the cycle paths planned from the Cycle infrastructure prioritization toolbox (CyIPT). These bike lanes could be used by electric scooter users, keeping cyclists safe and out of traffic. London Westminster tops the list with almost 97km of cycle routes planned in and around the combined urban area, followed by Salford and Manchester with 25km of two-wheeler routes.

Predicting the popularity of electric scooters

To understand the potential adoption of electric scooters, we assessed each city based on the number of people who already used two wheels to get to work. Cambridge at the top of the list with 15.34% of the population already cycle, followed by Westminster (12.42%), Oxford (8.75%) and York (5.29%). This suggests that these cities would be open to this new mode of green transport.

Will Owen, energy expert Uswitch comments on the results of the e-scootability index:

“Cities across the UK have been working hard to stop the spread of COVID-19 and with the lockdown finally eased, we are seeing a welcome push towards climate-friendly transport options such as electric scooters.

“Later this year, the UK will join several European countries including Spain, France and Italy following the release of the DfT Electric Scooter Rental Framework. 50 city councils have already applied to participate in the trial.

“But the research behind the e-scootability index found that some cities were more ‘prepared’ for their arrival than others, with northern cities making up 70% of the top 10 list.

“Rental electric scooters will be banned on sidewalks to protect pedestrians, so road safety is another factor to consider. In addition to the obvious environmental benefits of electric scooter rental programs, regulators need to consider many other factors. “

Will electric scooters make a difference in daily commuting in the UK?

As the UK slowly unlocks, electric scooter rental companies seem poised to revolutionize the way we get to and from the office.

So we asked energy expert Will Owen to tell us why he thinks we should follow the lead of the US and Europe when it comes to implementing our own scooter programs. suburb without emissions.

This will reduce the amount we spend on our daily commute

In the UK, the average cost of our monthly trips is valued or £ 146, or approximately £ 7.30 per day (based on 20 working days per month).

In Germany, electric scooter rental brand Grover launched GroverGo, a subscription model that allows customers to rent the Xiaomi Mijia M365 electric scooter for € 49.90 (£ 44.83) per month or € 2.50. (£ 2.24) per day.

If a similar model were adopted here in the UK it would reduce monthly travel costs by 69%.

We will reduce the amount of CO2 in our cities, globally reducing air pollution

A sudden increase in air pollution is causing growing concern as more people follow advice to avoid public transport when they return to work.

Lime global electric scooter rental brand ad that they have just completed 150 million trips around the world, and their calculations show how environmentally friendly electric scooters are. Lime says these rides saved:

  • 32 million miles of car travel

  • 1,300,000 gallons of gasoline (approximately 100,000 full tanks for your average car).

Lime also states that in 2018, electric scooter users saved 540,000 pounds (244,939 kg) of CO2 in just three months, which equates to about 28,000 gallons (127,290 liters) of fuel that did not been burnt in car engines, or the absorption capacity of an additional 46,000 trees.

Use must be safe and regulated

There has been a lot of debate in the press about the safety of electric scooters, with many European countries reporting problems with illegal parking and accidents. France, for example, sets speed limits and prohibits parking elsewhere than in designated spaces.

However, figures from a recent study confirm that electric scooter riders do not face a much higher risk of traffic incidents than cyclists, despite some concerns.

To ensure the safety of rental electric scooter users, pedestrians, cyclists and others, the Ministry of Transportation has already provided safety guidelines and advice.

  • Speed ​​limit of 15.5 mph (25 km / h)

  • Driver’s license required for use

  • Private scooters remain illegal

  • Prohibited on sidewalks and cycle paths

When it comes to enforcement, the UK could follow France’s lead. Any electric scooter rider who breaks the laws could be fined up to € 135 (£ 121).

The references:


** Pothole complaints, from Fixmystreet.com

*** Air quality score, taken from Numbeo

The data from the E-Scootability Index can be explored in full here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1LM_kSHG4VFC2wtSj-_lxZObva3RI9YX5DXarwBCFflM/edit?usp=sharing


Uswitch analyzed data from 40 UK cities with populations over 100,000 and analyzed seven different data sets related to each city’s infrastructure and their suitability for using electric scooters.

These metrics were:

Each city could score a maximum of 10 points for each item, and we used a weighted ranking system to get the final score out of 70.

Learn more about the impact of electric vehicles on your energy bills.

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About Joan Ferguson

Joan Ferguson

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