People living in Norwich will be able to hire electric scooters to travel round the city from today (September 21st).
The scheme will see around 100 of the vehicles gradually made available which can be unlocked by a special app.
It's hoped it will encourage more people to use sustainable transport.
The project is being run by bike share firm Beryl, which already provides 300 bicycles and e-bikes to hire in a partnership with the city council.The new project will form part of a 12-month trial with Norfolk County Council and the Department of Transport (DfT).
During the trial period, e-Scooter riders will be required to provide a valid UK Driving License to participate and asked to provide feedback on their experiences to inform central government.
The scooters will only be allowed on roads, cycle lanes and other areas where cycling is permitted but not on pavements. The firm says it will be talking to Norfolk police and local disability groups throughout the trial.
The key thing is we are starting quite slow with these electric scooters, there’s only 15 to 20 going out today and we hope to ramp up over the next couple of months but we will be doing so when we can demonstrate to ourselves and to the council that these are being used in a way that is safe and responsible and also giving people an alternative way of getting around.
It's designed to avoid problems encountered by a similar trial in Coventry in the West Midlands.
That trial paused, less than a week since the scheme began. Coventry City Council put the brakes on the scheme after concerns over safety.
The introduction of e-scooters to cities has not come without controversy after TV presenter Emily Hartridge died in an electric scooter accident last year.
Beryl says it has consulted widely over mitigating safety concerns, working closely with charities like Vision Norfolk and Guide Dogs for the Blind on the placement of all Beryl Bays.
Inspector Graham Dalton of Norfolk Police said people needed to use the scooters responsibly:
It is important people are aware that the use of regular E-Scooters remain illegal on the highways. This includes pavements, cycle paths and other public areas. Although these government trials are currently underway, the legislation still remains the same and individuals could face a fine or penalty points if used outside of this initiative.
Councillor Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure said safety would be paramount
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.
It's hoped it will encourage people to use more sustainable forms of transport.