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Electric scooter trial in Canterbury approved


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Electric scooters will soon be seen zooming around streets in Kent after a 12-month trial was approved.

Up to 100 scooters will be available to use in Canterbury after Kent County Council was successful in bidding for the pilot, which was given the green light by the Department for Transport this week.

The Bird electric scooters at Canterbury Christ Church. Picture: Bird
The Bird electric scooters at Canterbury Christ Church. Picture: Bird

The authority has appointed micro-mobility company Bird to head-up the scheme after a competitive tender process .

Initially the trial will run on a controlled set route serving students from the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.

But if successful, the trial zone will be opened up to a broader area, which it is said will help the community get around without creating congestion or harmful emissions.

There are a number of rules, which include all riders having to hold a provisional or full drivers’ licence and be over 18 before they can ride.

The firm has worked with the council to create a geofence - a digital boundary - and the scooters will power down if they cross the approved route's boundary.

The Bird electric scooters at the University of Kent. Picture: Bird
The Bird electric scooters at the University of Kent. Picture: Bird

The firm has worked with the council to create a geofence - a digital boundary - and the scooters will power down if they cross the approved route's boundary.

They will also provide safety training and host safe riding events where free helmets will be given away to riders.

The scooters are GPS enabled so the company can keep track of them and ensure they are ridden and parked correctly.

KCC cabinet member for highways and transport Michael Payne said: "The trial will help us establish how the scooters are used and how they interact with other highway users, though they will be limited to a set route between the two campuses.

"It is our hope that eventually everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of sustainable travel as part of their commute, offering an alternative to car travel, with an ambition to help reduce congestion and improve air quality in Canterbury.

"Ultimately the scheme will help inform government as to whether this form of travel will be sanctioned on the highway network and if so, in what way."

Leader of Canterbury City Council, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, says he is pleased the bid was successful.

"Projects such as this encourage people to get out of their cars and can make a contribution to improving air quality," he said.

"We look forward to seeing the trial in operation and understanding the potential for such a scheme to be expanded across the city."

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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