‘Private e-scooters a huge hit in Bristol - now let’s legalise them’ - says boss of retailer Pure Electric

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Pure Electric chief executive Adam Norris says e-scooters could will help the city achieve zero-emission transport

The owner of Bristol-based Pure Electric says demand for e-scooters in the city is higher than anywhere else in the UK outside London, as the company smashes a £1m crowdfunding campaign to expand growth into Europe.

Despite it being illegal to ride e-scooters other than on private land, the company says it has ambitions to cut congestion and help clean up pollution with its range of two-wheeled products which can be bought for under £350.

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The firm has also received strong investor support, having secured almost £1.5m in funding after launching its first-ever crowdfunding campaign aimed at supporting growth beyond the UK, France, Spain and Belgium.

Asked by Bristol World on how much of a success his e-scooters had been in Bristol, chief executvie and founder Adam Norris said: “Pure Electric e-scooters have been a huge hit in our home city of Bristol. In fact, the demand for our e-scooters is higher in Bristol than in any other city in the UK outside of London.”

And asked how e-scooters benefit the city, he said: “Bristol is a city passionate about sustainable living, which is why we love to call it our home. We’ve seen rental scheme e-scooters in Bristol become very popular, which is an important first step in encouraging people to swap cars for micro-mobility solutions.

Pure Electric say demand in Bristol is higher than anywhere else outside LondonPure Electric say demand in Bristol is higher than anywhere else outside London
Pure Electric say demand in Bristol is higher than anywhere else outside London | Getty Images

“Looking to the future, with the Clean Air Zone coming into force in late November, even more people in Bristol will be looking for zero-emission transport. This reinforces why the UK government needs to implement regulations around the use of private e-scooters, urgently.”

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Under current law, only rented e-scooters from Voi can be ridden on public roads. Private e-scooters cannot be ridden on roads, pavements or cycle lanes.

It is because they are classed as a motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act 1998, and the fact riders can’t get appropriate insurance for privately-owned e-scooters, it is illegal to use them on the road or public spaces.

Anyone stopped by police riding a privately-owned e-scooter on a public road or land could have their e-scooter seized, and be liable for prosecution. However, many private e-scooters are seen used in Bristol city centre.

Adam Norris, chief executive of Pure ElectricAdam Norris, chief executive of Pure Electric
Adam Norris, chief executive of Pure Electric | Adrian Sherratt

But the law could be changed after the Government announced its intention to create a low-speed zero-emission category of vehicle, which could include e-scooters and make them legal to use in public, under the upcoming Transport Bill.

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Back in December, Mayor Marvin Rees supported calls for the legalisation of private e-scooters, saying they are ‘a reality of life now’.

Mr Norris, who is the father and manager of Formula One driver Lano Norris, said: “In May, the UK Government announced the introduction of a new vehicle class – the zero-emission light vehicle class – which will include regulations around how private e-scooters could be used in the UK.

“We are actively supporting the Department of Transport as they design a regulatory framework in readiness for legalisation of private e-scooters in the UK.”

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