New details to be shared about North Devon e-scooter trial

Voi Technology e-scooters

Voi Technology e-scooters - Credit: NDC

Fresh details about an innovative e-scooter trial in North Devon are set to be revealed soon. 

Last November, North Devon Council was granted the right to a licence by the Department for Transport after, working closely with Petroc and e-scooter company, Voi Technology, they had submitted a proposal to pilot e-scooters in North Devon. 

The DfT granted the license with plans afoot to run a trial in Barnstaple at some stage in 2021 – although no details as to when the trial will begin have yet been revealed, with a North Devon Council spokesman telling the Local Democracy Reporting Service this week that ‘We will be sharing all details about the trial in due course.’ 

At present, you can buy an e-scooter but you can’t ride it on a UK public road, cycle lane or pavement, and anyone who does is committing an offence. 

But when details of the trial emerged last year, e-scooters could be hired and used legally within the geographically set boundaries, and while riders wouldn’t need to take out their own insurance to hire an e-scooter, they would need a driving licence or at least provisional one. 

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At the time, North Devon Council said that the scheme aimed to tackle rural transport challenges in the district, particularly improving access to Petroc, which sees an average of over 4,000 pupils travelling to the main campus in Sticklepath in each week. 

The trial will also enable the council to better serve and manage the increase in population from visitors in the tourism season; helping tourists to move around without causing additional traffic, congestion and pollution, the statement issued in November 2020 said. 

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At the time, lead member for economic development and regeneration at North Devon Council, Cllr Malcolm Prowse, added: “We are pleased that we have been granted a licence agreement and we look forward to working with Voi and Petroc to take further positive steps towards a successful trial phase. This includes addressing the safety concerns and needs of other road users, especially vulnerable groups. 

“Close planning and collaboration with Devon and Cornwall Police will also go a long way to ensuring the safety and viability of the trial over the 12-month period.” 

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