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  • - So I've always been a cyclist who hated electric scooters,

  • until I went to Berlin.

  • (upbeat music)

  • So, I was sold on the idea of getting an electric scooter

  • but when I got back to London, I hit a little bit of a snag.

  • It turns out, scooters are essentially illegal to use here

  • because of a series of laws that date back

  • to the Victorian era.

  • The oldest one is the Highway's Act 1835,

  • which bans horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, cattle,

  • or carriage from being on the pavement or sidewalk.

  • But, there's a more modern law which updates this old law

  • and is the final nail in the coffin,

  • which says that "carriages"

  • include any mechanically propelled vehicle.

  • In other words,

  • "don't ride your scooter on the pavement, you weirdo."

  • But the real problem is the laws that collectively prevent

  • electric scooters from being used on the road.

  • Now, in the eyes of the law,

  • electric scooters just, kinda, don't exist.

  • And so somehow they fall into

  • the same category as motor vehicles,

  • yet they've got no chance of meeting

  • the same kind of safety and tax regulations.

  • Oh, and, don't even think about riding in the bike lane,

  • those are reserved for things with pedals,

  • so scooters are out.

  • Oh, electric bikes are cool, you guys can stay.

  • (upbeat music)

  • There are a lot of scooters on London streets

  • but technically, every single one of these riders

  • is risking a 300 pound fine and six points on their license.

  • - And if you live here, in New York City,

  • you've probably noticed the same thing.

  • Electric scooters are everywhere but there are no shared

  • scooters like Bird and Lime.

  • And that's because, they're technically illegal here to.

  • Now the enforcement is not quite as harsh

  • as it is in London.

  • And the cops basically turn a blind eye,

  • but E-scooters are on the list of banned

  • vehicles with the DMV.

  • So scoot at your own peril New York.

  • (upbeat music)

  • - [Jon] There is a loophole,

  • and that's that E-scooters can be ridden

  • on private land in the UK.

  • For the past year, Bird has been running

  • an electric scooter trial in the

  • Olympic Park in London.

  • The company's hoping that the more people

  • it can get on to scooters,

  • the more people might have the same kind of revelation

  • that I had in Berlin.

  • Bird is just one example of an electric scooter

  • sharing company.

  • But there are plenty more that will want to move in,

  • as soon as the city legalizes scooters.

  • And we all know what that can look like.

  • I think it's fair to say,

  • a few cities were maybe too hasty

  • in opening their doors to E-scooter companies.

  • - [Andrew] Now, take Austin, Texas for example.

  • That city is over run with electric scooters.

  • Now there's a recent study from the CDC

  • that found that 20 people were being injured

  • per 100,000 E-scooter trips, over a 3 month period.

  • That's a pretty alarming rate.

  • Part of the problem is, the scooter sharing companies

  • are moving faster than the city regulators can keep up.

  • So you've got cities like San Francisco, Madrid,

  • Indianapolis and Antwerp, that have been forced

  • to write regulations after the scooter companies

  • have already come in

  • and dumped dozens and dozens of scooters on their streets.

  • But here in New York State, they're trying to avoid

  • that problem by letting each city write it's own

  • rules governing scooter sharing services.

  • But the governor Andrew Cuomo,

  • hasn't signed the bill yet

  • and it's leaving electric scooter companies

  • in the dark as to when exactly

  • they're gonna get the green light.

  • Gradually some ideas are starting to emerge

  • about the best way for allowing electric scooters

  • and their rental companies to come in to cities.

  • - All of this is to say, that potentially the UK's

  • slow progress in allowing electric scooters,

  • maybe, isn't the worst thing in the world.

  • I mean in a weird way,

  • the UK's outdated laws have brought the country

  • a little bit of breathing space,

  • to work out how to allow electric scooters,

  • without suffering their downsides.

  • And then when electric scooter sharing companies move in,

  • they'll have to play by the countries laws.

  • - [Alan] I think what we would like to see,

  • and what we're arguing for in the UK at the moment,

  • is for rules and regulations to be proactively

  • put in place.

  • So for example, in the UK, we would like the government,

  • to legislate a minimum safety standards

  • for the actual E-scooters which are going on the roads.

  • And longer term, by working better with cities,

  • we think that's a way in which you can make

  • this industry, you know, really sustainable.

  • - So change could be on the way,

  • it's just happening very slowly.

  • In March 2019 the UK's Department For Transport

  • announced a huge analysis into the countries

  • transport regulations.

  • They called it the "biggest review in to transport

  • "in a generation".

  • The department is vague on what they will be doing,

  • but it looks very promising for scooters.

  • They speak of trialing, regulating

  • and possibly adding new vehicle definitions

  • that could allow scooters to be used on public roads.

  • But where it starts to get really complicated,

  • is where the report says that even city street designs

  • may need to evolve to accommodate new vehicles.

  • It's a problem, that so many modern cities

  • are designed with cars in mind

  • and as long as that's the case,

  • other forms of transport will be more dangerous

  • to use than they need to be.

  • I mean even in the case of the UK's first

  • electric scooter death,

  • some reports pointed towards a confusing

  • road layout as one potential cause.

  • And in New York, at least six people have died

  • while riding electric bicycles, electric scooters

  • or mopeds this year alone.

  • - I think the best, numbers of people using scooters

  • in 2018 was 84 million trips,

  • for bike and scooter share in the US.

  • That's really something and cities are taking notice.

  • Shared micro-mobility can only grow if

  • we provide safe places for people to bike

  • and to scooter.

  • - [Jon] So the genies out of the bottle,

  • electric scooters are coming.

  • And they come with potentially

  • massive benefits to our most congested cities.

  • But it's hard to ignore the risks,

  • both to the safety of scooter riders themselves,

  • as well as people that share the streets with them.

  • And getting the balance right,

  • could require new laws and it might even need

  • cities to be redesigned to accommodate scooters

  • and to encourage them to be used safely.

  • These are things that take time to change.

  • Cities and countries can't afford to move fast

  • and break things.

  • In the same way that tech companies can.

  • And making the wrong decision now might affect

  • how livable our cities are for decades to come.

  • - [Nicole] There is no doubt that,

  • when cities and companies work together,

  • that cities have established goals,

  • that shared micro-mobility can

  • be a really good thing for cities.

  • - Take Austin Texas for example,

  • the city has been totally over run with scooters,

  • but (laughs)

  • - The real problem is the laws that collectively.

  • What is happening over there?

  • Ahhh!

  • We're late for the truck regatta (laughs)

- So I've always been a cyclist who hated electric scooters,

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Why electric scooters are illegal in New York and London

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/06
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