Demand for e-scooter legalization is growing as Halfords sees a huge surge in sales of the controversial products during the pandemic
- According to a current test program, only rented e-scooters are allowed on public roads
- Environmental protection and overload protection are among the touted advantages of e-scooters
- Research has shown that 52% of Brits would use an e-scooter for their commute
Bicycle dealer Halfords has announced that sales of its e-mobility products have almost tripled in the last year.
The group has already announced that it has grown 184 percent in the first half of the fiscal year and expects to see a significant number of e-scooters purchased this Christmas.
Demand for the product has increased in 2020 alongside bicycles and electric bicycles as environmental concerns have risen and people avoid public transportation for fear of contracting the coronavirus.
Halfords is training a further 1,500 technicians to serve the growing trade in electric mobility vehicles such as electric cars, e-scooters and e-bikes
The company is training an additional 1,500 technicians to service the growing e-mobility device trade and is calling on the UK government to legalize e-scooters on public roads. Currently, only rental e-scooters are permitted as part of a test program that began in July.
Research released by the group earlier this year showed that more than 70 percent of people would consider using one for short trips if they became legal, while just over half would use one for their daily commute.
45 percent of adults also thought traveling to work would be fun, while the majority believed it would make the environment cleaner and reduce congestion.
In the 20 weeks to mid-August, Halfords customers bought 230 percent more e-scooters and e-bikes, which the company attributed in part to the increasing popularity of staycations
The company’s e-mobility expert Matt Banks said, “If they are legal, personal e-scooters could offer a number of benefits. They have the potential to offer an inexpensive alternative to using public transport or cars – especially for shorter journeys.
“They are a ready-to-drive solution and mean that you can just put on your helmet, jump on your scooter, and go.
“It takes minutes to set up and is easy to drive. They’re greener, help relieve traffic congestion and solve pollution problems.”
Almost exactly two months ago, Halfords wrote that e-scooter purchases had increased 450 percent in the past three weeks compared to the same period last year.
In the 20 weeks until mid-August, customers bought 230 percent more e-scooters and e-bikes, which the company attributed in part to the increasing popularity of staycations with the British.
However, the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) today warned that the decriminalization of e-scooters could lead to an increase in accidents among people with visual impairment.
The e-scooter invasion: Trials with rental e-scooters have been underway in Great Britain since the summer
The organization told the Daily Telegraph that British blind and visually impaired people had contacted them because they had been “hit” by illegally driven e-scooter vehicles.
“They move quickly and can be extremely difficult for blind or visually impaired people to see and hear,” commented Eleanor Thompson, advocacy director of politics and public affairs.
“Likewise, it may not always be obvious to someone who drives an e-scooter that they are approaching a visually impaired pedestrian, which increases the risk of accidents at intersections or when e-scooters are driven in pedestrian zones or on sidewalks.
The Transport Select Committee has called for e-scooters to be legalized on public roads
She added, “Any longer-term plans to legalize e-scooters should take into account the very real concerns of people with vision loss, especially about sidewalk use.”
Concerns about the safe use of e-scooters were highlighted in a report released by the Transport Select Committee in October calling for their legalization on public roads.
It said they should be banned from sidewalks because of their potential harm to hikers, especially the visually impaired, and recommended that the government allow local authorities to set speed limits on them.
Last month, the AA announced that it would offer e-scooter motorists lessons in road safety and a theory test to learn how to safely share certain routes with other transport vehicles and pedestrians.
Halfords shares finished 0.76 percent lower at £ 2.60.