Essex Highways, Safer, Greener, Healthier

E-scooter trials - questions and answers

General questions and answers

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The trials are taking place in defined areas of Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Clacton and Colchester.

Essex is growing fast in population, homes and the number of people using our roads. If we don’t quickly find alternatives to some local journeys currently made in cars, we will have serious issues with congestion and pollution. Essex wants to be a leader in more sustainable, safe travel and transport for the potential jobs that will bring to the county but above all for the health and safety and efficient travel of our residents - part of our Safer, Greener, Healthier work. The e-scooter trials are designed in partnership with city, borough and district councils in Essex.

E-scooters can be quickly introduced, don’t impact on facilities for other travel or transport, can be rapidly rolled out across the county if trials are successful and have proved attractive for local travel across the world. They are an alternative to bicycles for those who want quick and easy, flexible on/off hire and our short-term schemes have no ownership, storage or security obligations.

The Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) has made orders that only the designated hire scooters are legal for the trial period and in the trial areas. Trials are currently being run across the country in various locations. Any e-scooters used anywhere other than the trial areas remain illegal (unless used on private land).

E-scooter hire may prove to be an alternative for commuters who no longer want to use their car for getting to the local station, say, or for workers who live quite close to their workplace for whom car-parking is a problem. ‘Park and Scoot’ options are being considered, to encourage scheme uptake.

 

Research conducted in June 2021 reveals that Spin e-scooters are most often used for short journeys, on average 3km in distance and 23 minutes in length, with 82% of riders stating they have used a Spin e-scooter to replace a solo drive car journey at least once already.

Enforcement is a matter ultimately for Essex Police, who are supporting these trials. Any e-scooters used anywhere other than the trial areas remain illegal (unless used on private land) The e-scooter leasing company, Spin, is working hard to ensure that their e-scooters can only be used correctly in the designated areas.

For short term hires Spin does not charge an unlock fee but a simple £0.20 per minute fee. An average journey of around 12 minutes will cost £2.40. Spin has also introduced commuter passes and free or subsidised rides for NHS workers and people on low incomes. You must register with the scheme via the app and then provide a valid driving licence. This will be followed by details on safe riding, in app training and a safety test.

Braintree and Brentwood are both long term hire areas which means that people can take a Spin e-scooter home and hire them on a rolling monthly subscription for £55. The subscription includes the Spin scooter that the rider will have exclusive access to, insurance, helmet, charging cable, 24/7 customer support and maintenance.

E-scooters are classed as motor vehicles. That means you must be 18 or over, have a driving licence (including holding a provisional licence) and be insured to drive them. Insurance is included in the Spin e-scooter hire fee. You must download the free Spin app, complete the in app training and add a payment card. Once a user has unlocked a scooter they will be insured to ride for the duration of their journey. Only the person who has unlocked the scooter is allowed to ride.

Although helmets will not be a legal requirement for the trial, Spin always recommends users wear a helmet.  Spin will be doing helmet giveaways to users at throughout the scheme, for example at safety training sessions.

Government will take the final decisions on the results of the trials and as to whether e-scooters can be legalised for wider use, but criteria will include how many people use them, safe use and benefits in replacing car journeys.

The trials are due to conclude in March 2022, following which the Government will evaluate them using reports from Essex County Council and other authorities who are trialling them. The schemes will be regularly reviewed during this time.

Data gathered from Spin users will improve our understanding of how many people adopt the e-scooters to get around, where they are used and the impact they have on existing traffic patterns, as well as any environmental, safety and enforcement impacts. It may be then that a wider roll-out of legal hire e-scooters takes place in the UK.

Spin legal hire scooters will be brightly coloured orange and so look very different from typical illegal (when used on public roads or pavements) private scooters which are often grey or black. Legal scooters will have Spin logos on, visible at closer inspection.

These scooters must not be ridden on the pavement (unless it is already a shared use cycleway with pedestrians). E-scooters are classed as motor vehicles, so police can enforce against people riding on the pavement, just as they can if a car drives on the pavement. Scooters are fitted with bells and lights to warn pedestrians, if necessary, of their approach. Pedestrians always have right of way and the training required for people registering with the scheme will remind driving-licence holders of that. The speed limit is set to a maximum of 12.5 mph.

You can ride a hire e-scooter on almost any road, within the trial areas, which is up to and including a 30mph limit and on any designated cycleway, including shared use.  There will be a small number of no-ride zones in high-footfall and very busy areas, such as near shopping centres where you will not be able to ride the e-scooter to ensure other road users’ safety. Always check ahead of your journey in the app where these zones are.

Scooters will be “geo-fenced” using GPS satellite technology so that the motor will not work outside the designated, legal trial areas.

People hiring these scooters must be adults with a driving licence. The rider can then be traced if they do ride or otherwise behave dangerously with the e-scooter. Drivers and riders of all sorts of vehicles currently must drive safely and e-scooters are no different. Anyone abandoning their e-scooter in a dangerous place could be prosecuted and certainly have their membership of the scheme suspended.

We appreciate that some Spin e-scooters may seem as like they've been abandoned for those unfamiliar with Spin's parking policy. They are most likely just waiting for a new rider to pick it up. Riders are educated on parking best practice and need to take a photo of their parked scooter to lock it. All parking photos are reviewed for compliance and we incentivise good parking behaviours.

Bicycles don’t suit everyone. Not everyone who needs to travel short distances can walk quickly or has the physical ability to cycle. Bikes, even some e-bikes, need significant effort to go uphill and it may not be suitable for everyone to arrive at their destination having, for example, sweated while cycling, inside heavy winter or rain clothes.

Traffic Act 1988; Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999; Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016; and Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002.

The speed limit is set to a maximum of 12.5 mph.

Spin, like several other companies, is a provider approved by the Department for Transport (DfT). Only approved providers can deliver a scheme.

To become an approved supplier requires meeting safety specifications around speed, lighting, power, weight, where they can be driven etc. Spin will operationally manage, deliver and promote the Essex trials, taking responsibility for bookings, payment, customer obligations and service, as well as providing the scooters and related maintenance,  recovery and redistribution where needed. Spin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company.

Additional questions and answers

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In busy town centres there are specific parking areas and clear no-parking zones. In these areas users will be prevented from ending their ride unless they are at one of these specific parking locations. Information relating to each town or city can be found on the Spin App and riders are encouraged to always locate the parking areas before they start riding.

In predominantly residential areas, Spin e-scooters are “free-floating” so they can be parked in most places in the service area’s riding zones. They may appear like they are left behind but they are not. Riders must park responsibly and never block access for other road users, including driveways, bus stops and shop entrances. Users must park without blocking the pavement.

A parked scooter can either be picked up by the next user or will be collected and ‘rebalanced’ meaning they will be moved to areas with higher demand by the Spin team.

We do recommend users park at existing deployment locations in residential areas (marked with a Blue P) so the scheme is easily accessible to all users. In Basildon, Spin is also trialling ‘incentivised parking locations’ where users are rewarded with ride credit for parking there.

Riders are also educated on parking best practice and need to take a photo of their parked e-scooter to lock it, and these are reviewed for compliance.

Spin has partnered with London Vision to provide a framework of training materials for riders, which is incorporated into a disability awareness safety module that can be accessed online, in-app and via in-person training events. Riders can also use the bell on the e-scooter to alert pedestrians that an e-scooter is approaching.

All of Spin’s e-scooters are equipped with labels in braille too, which includes contact information for Spin’s customer support team.

Abandoned or vandalised e-scooters should be reported via Spin’s online portal. Remember that “free-floating” e-scooters can appear to be abandoned but they are most likely just parked within the guidelines and waiting for a new rider to pick them up.

All anti-social behaviour and mis-use of e-scooters should be reported directly to Essex Police, who are supporting these trials. Spin has numerous measures in place to ensure their e-scooters are used in an appropriate manner through safety and education events and in-app information.

New riders must view a comprehensive set of rules and instructions and complete a safety test before they can take their first ride. Spin also runs Spin Safe in-person events across Essex to educate riders on how to safely ride an e-scooter and the same information can be accessed on its website at any time.

Yes. Spin has created a penalty structure — including warnings, fines and account suspension — and will ban users who are drawing regular complaints.

Yes, Spin's vehicles’ speed is 12.5 MPH to ensure safety. Spin also uses slow-ride zones where the speed is restricted to 10 MPH. The very first ride for everyone is restricted to 10 MPH.

Spin’s Everyday Heroes programme offers 30-minute free rides to eligible NHS workers (including doctors, nurses, cleaners, radiology and lab technicians, medical assistants, and hospital and clinic administrators). Applicants need to upload an image of their NHS ID and register on the dedicated webpage and will then receive a unique code via email for use in the Spin App. More information can be found here: https://www.spin.app/covid19-uk

Spin Access provides subsidised fares to unemployed and low-income riders registered with Jobcentre Plus and who are part of the Jobcentre Plus Travel programme. More information can be found here: https://www.spin.app/spin-access-uk

Spin + Braintree and Brentwood

It’s Spin’s long-term hire scheme where users receive their own Spin e-scooter and have full use for the duration of 30 day subscription. Only they are be able to ride it. They cannot share it with anyone else.

No. Unless you are a subscriber to Spin+ scheme, which is different. Scooters here are available only for long-term hire, minimum of 1 month and to be rented out to one single person. It cannot be shared with others for insurance reasons.

No. Spin+ customers need to download the Spin app and they will see only their subscribed e-scooter, not anyone else’s. Download our app  

The service area is set within the town borders in Brentwood. The same in Braintree. Users can see the area in the app. The general public can view the service area on the Essex Highways website.

No, you can sign up for as little as 30 days.

Yes, once the user enters the region of Basildon the user can rent a pay-per-minute scooter in that region through the same Spin app. However the user will not be able to operate the long-term hire subscription-based scooter outside of the original area of Brentwood or Braintree.

Yes. This is visible for riders when opening the app.

Due to DfT Traffic Regulation Orders, Brentwood and Braintree Spin+ e-scooters are only permitted for use in the active service area of Brentwood and Braintree districts.

There are no designated parking spots. When parking, users need to keep their Spin+ e-scooter close to the kerb. They should not block the right of way of pedestrian pavements, doors, or kerb ramps.

No. Only the person who rented the scooter is legally allowed to use it as only he/she will be insured on the vehicle.