Public hire e-scooter trial approved for Oxford

A trial of public hire e-scooters has been approved for Oxford.

The electrically-powered vehicles will initially operate in Headington before the scheme is rolled out to other areas of the city.

The 12-month trial of the scooters, which are limited to 15mph, is expected to be launched in February.

The city will join Bristol, Liverpool, and the West Midlands which are already operating similar schemes.

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Only people with driving licences will be able to use the scooters; which are allowed to travel on the highway, bus lanes, cycle lanes and shared-use footways.

But they will be barred from roads with speed limits of 40mph or more.

In a meeting on Thursday, Oxfordshire County Council granted an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) allowing the use of the e-scooters across Oxford.

Transport planning officers hope the trial will support safe commuting, as well as reduce car use and air pollution.

But county councillor Roz Smith, representing Headington, raised concerns over their use in bus lanes and shared footways.

She said: "I have had complaints about [privately owned] scooters being ridden at quite high speed on the footway, cycle way and highway without helmets or any reflective clothing at all."

She added she did not want to see scooters "left all over the place and being pulled out the river" like some dockless bikes in Oxford.

The use of privately-owned e-scooters still remains illegal on the highway, the county council said.

The trial is being managed nationally by the Department for Transport, and costs will be paid for by the scooter operator.