The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has prompted governments around the world to reassess their ideas of “business as usual.” In the UK, for example, transport secretary Grant Shapps has recently unveiled a £2 billion package to support “active travel” as the country eventually emerges from the crisis. Part of this deal will see e-scooters officially welcomed into the country, with trials originally planned for next year being fast-tracked to next month.
Thanks to draconian vehicle laws e-scooters had previously been banned in the UK, with the exception of extremely restricted trials by US startup Bird. Now, however, with coronavirus changing the way people get from A to B — and with the UK government cautiously eyeing more sustainable transport options in the long term anyway — four local authorities will start e-scooter trials next month. Shapps says the trials will be extended to “every region in the country that wants them” in a bid to get e-scooter rental schemes up and running as fast as possible. Birmingham and Coventry in the West Midlands are among the first cities to get on board.