The report provides information on the current position in relation to the use of e-scooters and policing action against those who use them unlawfully.
The Committee heard from Tracey Vickers, Head of Sustainable Transport – Essex County Council and Fercia Weyer - Spin's Essex General Manager that in the spring / summer of 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced a proposal to trial the use of electric scooters in named pilot areas. Local authorities were encouraged to apply to become a pilot area, and Essex County Council (ECC) drafted proposals for Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Clacton, Chelmsford and Colchester. ECC then identified a preferred supplier – Spin – and submitted those proposals to the DfT.
ECC, in partnership with Spin, launched the trial in Clacton on 1 March 2021.Under the trial, e-scooters hired from Spin may be ridden on roads and cycle paths. There are currently 150 Spin e-scooters in Clacton, and the town was approaching 30,000 rides since the trial began. The trial will run until the end of October 2021, but consideration was being given to extending the trial until March 2022.
The Committee were shown one of Spin E-scooters and this was demonstrated to the Committee to identify how a registered user would be linked to an individual E-scooter, its forward and rear lights and the panel that displayed the speed of the E-scooter to the user. The expectation for users to park the E-scooter safely and photgraph it once parked was outlined to the Committee.
The Committee heard about different uses of the E-scooters including those who used them to link with Railway Stations to travel and from work.
The Committee also heard from Acting Chief Inspector Martin Richardson relation to lawful and unlawful use of E-Scooters, he outlined the two major differences in the type of offences occurring.
1. The incorrect use of the legally permitted E-Scooters.
2. The unlawful use of an E-Scooter that is not legally permitted to be used in public.
The Acting Chief Inspector informed the Committee that the incorrect use of the legally permitted E-Scooters was very minimal and was not a hindrance to the Police workload and that the issue lay with the unlawful use of not legally permitted, privately owned E-Scooters in public.
Members heard how Tendring Police had an operation underway to tackle the unlawful use of e-scooters, to include a media campaign, unfortunately the E-scooters were being seen as a toy by many and therefore perfectly acceptable, but only on private land, such as their own back gardens and absolutely not the public highway or pavements.
At the invitation of thre Committee’s Chairman, the Ward Councillors for St James Ward (Councillors Alexander and Griffiths) addressed the Committee on their experience of the E-scooters trial as it impacted on the Clacton-on-Sea Ward they represented and the feedback they had received from local residents.
After a detailed discussion it was RECOMMENDED that Cabinet:
a. authorises representations to the Government’s Department of Transport to the effect that riders of E-Scooter be required to wear safety helmets, that E-Scooters be required to generate a low level noise to make them audible for safety reasons and that they are fitted with indicator lights.