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The ‘Solent Go’ E-scooter Trial

Electric scooters, or e-scooters, offer the potential for convenient, clean, and affordable travel whilst maintaining social distancing. As well as reducing the number of local car trips that take place.

The Solent Go E Scooter trial will be coming to the area soon. We are working with the local councils and the Department for Transport on a series of local pilot projects across Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton, and the Isle of Wight to test whether e-scooters will work in our area.

We recently received the go-ahead from the Department for Transport to run trial, and we are working with the Councils and potential operators to make the trials a reality. The first trial is due to launch soon on the Isle of Wight.

When and where will I see e-scooters out on the streets?

We are working with local councils to launch a series of sub-trials across the Solent region in the following areas:

  • Isle of Wight – Autumn 2020
  • Portsmouth – Spring 2021
  • Southampton – Spring 2021
  • Winchester – Spring 2021

As part of the development of each sub-trial, local communities and stakeholders will be consulted with.

When further details are available, we will let you know.

Is it legal?

The trial involves using e-scooters that are hired by users, often referred to as shared e-scooters. That means that you can hire e-scooters (usually through an app) from an operator for you to use, usually in a defined area. The Government changed the law to allow approved shared e-scooter projects to take place on public roads.

If you have bought a e-scooter of your own, or you plan to buy one, you should be aware that it is still illegal to use your own e-scooter on public roads, footways, and footpaths. Even within the trial areas.

How do i take part?

Once each scheme is launched, we will update this section to let you know how you can take part. Each scheme will be available for members of the public to use.

To use a shared e-scooter, by law you must:

  • Be 16 years old or over;
  • Have at least a Provisional Driving Licence.

How do I use them?

We will provide the details of how to use each sub-trial once we get them.

Are e-scooters safe to use?

The e-scooters themselves have been checked for their ‘roadworthiness’ by the Department for Transport. You can find out the details of these minimal technical standards on the Department for Transport website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-scooter-trials-guidance-for-local-areas-and-rental-operators/e-scooter-trials-guidance-for-local-areas-and-rental-operators#annex

We are only allowing e-scooters who have passed these checks with the Department for Transport to operate in our sub-trials.

You are not required by law to use a helmet while riding an e-scooter. But it is advised that you do wear your own if you have one.

Who will be operating e-scooters in my area?

The Isle of Wight Council have chosen Beryl to be the main operator for their sub-trial. The operators for the other sub-trials are currently being chosen.

How can I report dangerous riding or abandoned e-scooters?

Before sub-trials start, or in areas where trials are not taking place, chances are that these are private e-scooters and their users. In this case, it is best to contact the Police and report it on the non-emergency number 101, or online at the Hampshire Police website.

Where a sub-trial is operating, and the scooter has a clear company name shown on it, it is usually best to report these incidents directly to the e-scooter operator in the first instance. They have the ability to take actions against riders, and for their local teams to go and pick up abandoned e-scooters. The contact details of e-scooter operators will be shown here once we have them.

When reporting dangerous riding or abandoned scooters, give as much information as you can. This can include the location, date and time, and a description of the rider if you have it.

How are you sorting out parking?

On-street parking can take a variety of forms and can vary according to the local area. The most common of which are:

  • Docking areas. A physical dock is installed, to which e-scooters are attached when parked, and users can only park at these docks.
  • Geo-fenced parking areas. Parking areas are marked out on the ground (e.g. using paint) and users park in them. Whether or not they park in this area is monitored by the operator using a GPS locater in the scooter, that is similar to the GPS on your smartphone.
  • Hybrid model. This is when there is a mixture of docking areas and geo-fenced areas.

There are positives and negatives to all of these approaches, and different sub-trials across the Solent will be using different approaches. What solution works best for each area is best decided by that area.

Where scooters are still not parked where they should be, fines can be issued. These can be issued by the operator of the e-scooter, the Police, or both.

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