- A UK electronic scooter scheme has been stopped after locals reported riders weaving through traffic and mounting the sidewalk.
- Voi, a Swedish e-scooter company that operated 200 vehicles in Coventry, UK, said it would educate locals on e-scooters before restarting the trial.
- It will also reduce the speed of the scooters, it said.
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An electric scooter trial in the UK has been put on hold just five days after it launched, following reports that riders were mounting sidewalks and weaving in and out of traffic.
Voi, the Swedish company operating 200 vehicles during the trial in Coventry, said it would reduce the speed of the e-scooters and educate locals before the 12-month trial resumes.
Voi rolled out the vehicles to both Coventry and Birmingham on Thursday. More than 5,000 rides were taken in Coventry alone in the initial days of the trial, it said.
The trial is only being paused in Coventry — the vehicles can still be used in Birmingham. It marks the first suspension of an e-scooter trial since UK legalization of the vehicles in July.
Before July, electric scooters were illegal on public UK streets. Now, users can scoot on the road and in cycle lanes, and do not need to wear helmets.
On the Facebook page of Coventry Live, a local news website, users reported close shaves with e-scooters in the city. One woman said that she "almost got knocked over whilst crossing on a pedestrian crossing." Another said e-scooters have "turned the city centre into a race track."
Another user complained that their bus was delayed because a rider "was weaving in and out so [the] bus couldn't overtake," while others said e-scooters were being abandoned across the city.
A Voi spokesperson told Business Insider that "the vehicles are safe, it's about educating users and that is what we continue to do."
"The beauty of the trial is to continuously measure, assess and tweak our services and we will continue when everyone is happy," they added.
Voi said in a separate statement that both it and Coventry City Council had decided to pause the trial to evaluate how it works. "The advantage of a trial is that we can continually assess and learn from our experiences, and we are now taking this time to improve our service going forward," the company said.
Educating riders and reducing scooter speed to 12.4 mph, from 15.5 mph, will make the vehicles "a safe, efficient transportation solution for Coventry," Voi said.
E-scooters can reach speeds of up to 30mph. The local transport regulator, Transport for West Midlands, said that users will in future be able to ride in pedestrianized areas at a reduced speed limit of 5mph.
In July, Emily Hartridge, TV presenter and YouTube star, was killed in an e-scooter crash in London due to an underinflated tyre. This is believed to be the first fatal e-scooter crash in the UK.
Other cities which have introduced e-scooters trials include Northampton, Milton Keynes, and Middlesbrough.