Kettering e-scooter scheme launched to cut pollution and congestion

The scooters can hired by people over 18 who have a valid driving licence

By Alison Bagley
Friday, 11th December 2020, 4:37 pm

Kettering's fifty e-scooters hit the streets on Thursday placed around the town for use by residents and visitors.

The scooters will be available to rent in central Kettering as part of a bid to help people travel without using a car, reducing congestion and pollution.

Speeds will be capped at 10mph and reduced to a slower pace whilst in pedestrianised areas to ensure the safety of other users.

The scooters are also fitted with an automatic blocking mechanism so the scooter cannot be used out of the operational zone.

Jason Smithers, cabinet member for highways and place for Northamptonshire County Council said: "It's a fantastic idea. I think we will see these in the majority of the towns and cities across the world.

"We launched in Northampton and we've had 30,000 rides last month and 12,000 subscribers.

"We've learnt lessons from Northampton. There will be people who leave them irresponsibly but we have an incentive scheme to help with that.

Cabinet member for Highways Cllr Jason Smithers and Leader of Kettering borough council, Cllr Russell Roberts

"They are very sturdy devices and they feel safe. The copper tape on the handle bars stops the virus from spreading.

"The next thing will be e-bikes that will be launched on January 13 next year."

The scooters will be cleaned every day and have copper ribbon on the handlebars.

Oskar Björner, from e-scooter provider Voi, said: "NHS workers will get a 75 per cent discount and they can get unlimited rides for £10 a month."

The Voi team

The scooters will be available to rent from 4am to 11pm each day. To ride a scooter, users need to be at least 18-years-old, are required to download the Voi app and must have a valid driving licence.

Costing £1 to unlock, the scooters then cost 20p per minute they are used. Voi also offer 24-hour (£10) and 30-day (at £40) subscriptions with discounts for students and those on low incomes.

Kettering Council leader Russell Roberts said: "It's exciting. They give us the environmental credentials for the future. It lifts the tone of the town centre. We've got to embrace the newness."

Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal to use on roads, pavements, parks and any other areas. The only place that privately-owned e-scooters can legally be used is on private land with the permission of the landowner.

The scooters will be placed around Kettering

Only e-scooters that are hired or leased through the Kettering trial can be used legally on roads, cycle lanes or cycle tracks.

In the UK, e-scooters trials are part of a green transport push legalised by the Department of Transport back in July.

If you can’t do it on a bicycle, you can’t do it on an e-scooter. All riders should obey the Highway Code, wear a helmet, and be vigilant about pedestrians, especially vulnerable road users and children. Never ride on the pavement - that’s strictly prohibited.