Experimental order: Chester - electric scooter trial (statement of reasons)

The Experimental Order has been made in connection with a trial of electric scooters within the Chester area hired from a company authorised by the Department of Transport.  Similar trials are currently taking place in a number of other cities in the UK.  This initiative forms part of a national package to support cycling and walking, to boost the green recovery in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and to help mitigate the impacts of the ongoing climate crisis.

Covid-19 has resulted in transport accessibility issues; particularly relating to bus services, frequency and capacity.  Electric scooters offer the potential for fast, clean and inexpensive travel that can also help ease the burden on transport networks and allow for social distancing.  The purpose of the trial is to assess this potential.  

The Experimental Order, which will continue in force for a period of 18 months, allows the monitoring of electric scooters on carriageways and cycle tracks within the trial period.  The Council will in due course consider whether to allow electric scooters on roads and cycle tracks indefinitely by making a permanent Order.  Objections to the making of a permanent Order may be made within a period of six months from the coming into force of the Experimental Order.  All such objections will be considered as part of the assessment of the trial.

The Experimental Order has been made in accordance with guidance on electric scooter trials issued by the Department for Transport.  It provides that existing Traffic Regulation Orders which contain prohibitions or restrictions of traffic but which include exemptions for pedal cycles will also include the same exemptions for electric scooters.  

During the trial electric scooters will be treated as pedal cycles for traffic regulation purposes.  Such electric scooters will be permitted on carriageways within roads, including cycle lanes, except where cycles are prohibited.  They will also be permitted on cycle tracks, that is, ways within roads which are segregated from the carriageway (including ways shared with pedestrians).  To give effect to traffic signs legislation, which permits electric scooters within cycle lanes, cycle tracks will be redesignated as cycle lanes. 

The Experimental Order relates only to electric scooters on roads and cycle tracks hired from the company authorised by the Department for Transport.  Privately-owned electric scooters are prohibited on roads and cycle tracks.  Wherever pedal cycles are prohibited on roads, including at The Cross (parts of Watergate Street, Bridge Street, Eastgate Street and Northgate Street), the same prohibition applies to electric scooters.  Electric scooters are also prohibited on the Shropshire Union Canal Towpath.

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