Bristol’s e-scooter trial has caused controversy despite success Leave a comment


Bristol’s e-scooter pilot scheme has steadily swept the city since it was launched at the end of 2020 as an eco-friendly way to move around.

While many cities have traditionally opted for bicycle rentals over the years, electronically-powered scooters have surged in popularity as many people are avoiding public transport since the pandemic.

The city’s rentable e-scooters were introduced as part of a large trial in England with the South West branch led by Swedish tech brand Voi Technologies – available in Bath, Gloucester and Yeovil.

This scheme seeks to determine how safe these scooters are for widespread usage – as it stands privately-owned e-scooters are banned from public roads, cycle paths and pavements although these rules are often ignored.

Some scooter brands can reach top speeds of 40mph, but the Voi brand is capped at just over 15mph.

Priced at 12p per minute, a rental scooter may be a more affordable mode of transportation for moving around the city as they are expensive to purchase outright.

Despite their ease of use, Bristol’s electronic scooters continue to divide opinion among residents as to whether they are a problem or a viable solution.

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Although there are multiple environmental and monetary benefits to the scheme, there have been concerns with children hiring the Voi scooters despite the legal age of use being 16 and over.

Avon and Somerset Police recently shared data revealing 237 cases involving e-scooters in Bristol between December 2020 and March of this year.

One man recently described his annoyance of often seeing two people riding a single scooter at the same time, which goes against the app warning of one person per scooter.

There have also been some concerns from residents who fear pavements becoming unsafe for those who are visually impaired, the elderly, wheelchair users and prams due to being blocked by parked scooters.

In spite of this, the scheme has been deemed a success in Bristol and in other parts of the South West that are trialling the scooters, with more than one million kilometres of distance travelled in the area so far.

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