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SWT to launch E-scooter trial

13 October 2020 : Council news, Community, Environment

Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) today announced that the Department for Transport (DfT) has approved its proposal to operate an e-scooter trial in Taunton.

The Council has appointed Zipp Mobility to run the 12-month trial scheme which is scheduled to commence in late October. Zipp Mobility, headquartered in Ireland, will create at least four full-time jobs for the duration of the trial.

E-scooters were made legal for use on UK roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks in selected trial areas in July. Since then, more than 35 local authorities have submitted bids to the DfT.

SWT submitted a proposal for an e-scooter trial scheme in line with its commitment to climate and environmental responsibility, working towards achieving carbon neutrality and climate resilience by 2030.

Cllr Peter Pilkington, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “SWT is in the process of approving a district-wide plan as part of its commitment to tackling climate change, and has already implemented several initiatives to help create a more sustainable future for everyone.

“I am delighted that we have been successful in our bid to be part of the trial scheme and to have secured Zipp Mobility as our operator. E-scooters offer a cleaner, low carbon alternative to cars and provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Zipp Mobility e-scooter has been carefully designed with safety in mind. It features an aircraft-grade aluminium frame, 10-inch airless tyres, a swappable battery, dual braking, a wide base and a low centre of gravity. The scooters are also equipped with anti-viral handlebar wraps that kill 99.98% of Coronaviruses to help eliminate Covid-19 transmission risk.

Charlie Gleeson, CEO and Founder, Zipp Mobility said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Somerset West and Taunton Council for this trial. At Zipp Mobility we place a strong emphasis on safety and quality of service and we are excited to bring this model to the district.”

Will O’Brien, Vice President of Growth and Government Affairs, Zipp Mobility added, “Somerset West and Taunton Council’s commitment to work towards carbon neutrality by 2030 is among the most ambitious in the country.

"We are excited to work with such an environmentally-conscious local authority and help them on their journey to meeting this goal through the delivery of a world-class e-scooter trial.”

In advance of the e-scooter trial scheme going live SWT and Zipp Mobility will be holding a series of training and education sessions for members of the public. These sessions will adhere to the Government’s Coronavirus guidance on meeting with others safely.

The first of these will take place with several time slots available between 12-2pm this Friday 16 October and 10am-2pm this Saturday 17 October. All participants will receive a free safety helmet. Further information and a booking form can be found on the Zipp mobility website. 

In addition to this, the Council and Zipp will be engaging with local representatives and groups in order to ensure this trial is tailor-made for the area and has a positive impact on the community.

The hired vehicles can only be used within set geographical boundaries, so Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are being amended in order to be ready to start the trial.

The Department for Transport has stipulated that only e-scooters involved in the trials can be used in public areas - it remains illegal to use privately owned e-scooters in a public space.

SWT and Zipp Mobility are working with the Avon and Somerset Police (ASP) to help educate people about these laws.

Richard McKiernan, Traffic Management Officer at ASP, said: “Whilst the trial offers a new and exciting way of moving around the area, we strongly recommend that users attend one of the training sessions before taking to the road. These sessions will help give an understanding of the rules of their use, as well as emphasising the importance of personal safety while on the road.

“I would urge anyone who owns an e-scooter to take note of the laws around their use. Remember – an e-scooter is a ‘vehicle’ and that any misuse can lead to penalty points being endorsed on your driving licence.”