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Go-ahead given for Norwich e-scooter trial

Beryl Bikes will operate the service with an initial 100 scooters from September as part of a city-wide multi-modal trial that also includes bikes, and e-bikes.

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Beryl’s e-scooters are accessible through the same platform as its pedal- and e-bikes
Beryl’s e-scooters are accessible through the same platform as its pedal- and e-bikes

The UK city of Norwich is set to roll-out an e-scooter trial following approval by the Department for Transport (DfT) as it seeks to evaluate the mode of transport across the country.

 

London-based micro-mobility provider Beryl Bikes will operate the service with an initial 100 scooters from September as part of a city-wide multi-modal trial that also includes bikes, and e-bikes.

 

Bike-share scheme

 

Beryl, which only recently added e-bikes to its Norwich bike-share scheme, was brought to the city earlier in 2020 through the council’s Transport for Norwich partnership.

 

“Norwich is the ideal place to conduct an e-scooter trial and I am delighted that we have been successful in bringing them to the city,” said councillor Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, Norfolk County Council.

 

“We already have a good working relationship with Beryl and the e-scooters will make a fantastic addition to our current offer, bringing sustainable transport options to an even wider range of people and support our shared aims to reduce pollution across the city.”

 

Importantly, Beryl’s e-scooters will be accessible through the same platform as its pedal- and e-bikes. It claims its “community first” and collaborative approach will give riders a safe, connected and inclusive mobility scheme with a range of smart and sustainable vehicles available for an array of journeys.

“The e-scooters will make a fantastic addition to our current offer, bringing sustainable transport options to an even wider range of people”

The company has championed the hybrid model that incentivises riders to park in geo-fenced bays, providing the city with a high level of control over vehicles and encouraging responsible parking as well as ensuring a service that does not impede on the city’s social infrastructure.

 

Currently, Beryl reports 94 per cent of bike trips in its city-wide scheme in Norwich end in one of its bays and the remaining six per cent of bikes that are “free-floating” are easily redistributed to bays by its on-street team via cargo bike.

 

According to Beryl, the “multi-vehicle” scheme will give it an opportunity to learn how choice of vehicle types can assist members of the public across a wider range of journey types and physical abilities.

 

This data will help inform the local authority partner as to how it can best implement wider sustainable transport plans by incorporating the right vehicle mix. This data-led strategy will allow Beryl to offer a full-service micro-mobility partnership with authorities, advising them on how to implement and run systems that sit alongside long-term public transport and environmental strategies.

“Safety will be of paramount importance. We’ve already put a number of measures in place and will be working closely with the police and key local stakeholders to ensure their use is appropriate”

Beryl said it will update existing parking infrastructure to allow its “smart fleet” to be hired and parked in an orderly and secure manner, in line with the community’s needs. In some Beryl cities the bays will include planters and seating; while there is the ability to add in additional modules like information boards and charging stations.

 

Its e-scooter has already passed vehicle approval from the DfT, ensuring it meets the highest safety standards. Every scooter is fitted with a safety bell and consultations have and will continue to take place with key organisations such as Norfolk police and local disability groups. The e-scooters can be used on roads and cycle lanes, although not on pavements or shared spaces.

 

Government-backed trial

 

“It’s important to note that while this is a government-backed trial, it is still illegal to use privately owned e-scooters on the highway,” added Wilby.

 

“Safety will be of paramount importance. We’ve already put a number of measures in place and will be working closely with the police and key local stakeholders to ensure their use is appropriate and does not impact negatively on the wider community.”

 

During the 12-month trial period, e-scooter riders will be required to provide a valid UK driving license to participate and will be asked to provide feedback on their experiences using the vehicles. The purpose of the trial is to collect valuable data to ensure wider roll out of e-scooter services are as safe for and beneficial to the wider public as possible.

 

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