Glasgow in Scotland-first move to trial electric scooters

City councillors to consider seeking approval for city centre experiment.

The UK Government is keen for councils to trial electric scooters. Picture: Yui Mok.
The UK Government is keen for councils to trial electric scooters. Picture: Yui Mok.

A trial of electric scooters has been proposed in Glasgow that could see the city council become the first in Scotland to allow them on streets.

The proposal is among radical measures which would also provide more space for walkers and cyclists for physical distancing in the city centre.

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The “Space for Distancing” plan would include more than 15 miles of widened pavements and cycle lanes.

Glasgow city centre streets with proposed wider pavements and/or cycle lanes. Picture: Glasgow City Council.

Narrow sections could become one-way only with extra crossings.

Most of the 2,000 car parking spaces on city centre streets would be suspended, with drivers directed to car parks instead.

Priority at crossings could be reversed in favour of pedestrians, with lights set to the green man phase as a default and vehicles having to activate the signals to enable them to proceed.

The plans will be funded by a £3.5 million grant from a £30m Scottish Government scheme to encourage walking and cycling because space on buses and trains has been severely constrained by distancing requirements.

Councillors will this week consider whether to approach the UK and Scottish governments to permit an electric scooter trial in the city centre.

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E-scooters are currently banned on all but private land, but UK ministers are accelerating a consultation on whether they should be legalised and are keen for councils to test their use.

They have proved controversial in cities abroad because of safety concerns for both riders and pedestrians.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “As the popularity and prevalence of e-scooters and other forms of micro-mobility increases globally, we are keen to understand trends across a range of issues, including the safety of both the user of the scooter and other road users.

“We welcome the launch of the UK Government’s public consultation on how to regulate e-scooters and we will continue to monitor the outcomes to help inform future policy.”

A poll by motoring group IAM RoadSmart showed 67 per cent were opposed to their use on pavements and pedestrian areas.

Council leader Susan Aitken said: “The easing of the pandemic lockdown means re-purposing our streets is not just an ambition but a matter of urgency.

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