back to article E-scooter fanboy so hyped for Teesside to host UK's first trial

The UK's first trial of rented electic scooters will be in Teesside, according to Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen. The region has partnered with Ginger – a little-known UK micromobility startup – to deploy more than 100 scooters. The cities named by Houchen to receive the controversial two-wheelers include Darlington, Hartlepool …

  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    users will have to park the scooters at specified docking stations.

    How will that be enforced?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      I suspect with money - fines. They know who you are!

      1. AdamT

        To be fair, that does seem to be working with the TFL London bikes - don't see many of them left lying around. You've handed over some Credit Card details before you could undock it and I assume in the T&Cs you've agreed to return it to a dock or they'll keep billing you or something.

        1. taxman

          You obviously don't have any experience of Teesside, Have had 35 years there I agree you won't see many left lying around. Most will be lifted off the streets and later found around South Bank, Redcar, Cargo Fleet, Stockton, Thornaby and Haverton Hill.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            And only 100 of them across 5 towns. They will be hard to find even if they are all properly looked after and properly returned.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. jamie m

          Re: At Pen-y-gors, re: they know who you are...

          There is a requirement to hold a provisional licence, which for many years now has required a document check (e.g. passport)

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: At Pen-y-gors, re: they know who you are...

          Anyway you won't get far, and not only because the scooters are geo-fenced apparently.

        3. Insert sadsack pun here

          Re: At Pen-y-gors, re: they know who you are...

          "Sure it's a serious pain in the ass, but it's not impossible to beat them at their own game."

          All you've managed to do is prove that it's possible to steal a scooter. It's also possible to steal library books, bowling shoes, supermarket trolleys and cars. Despite that, we still manage to have libraries, bowling alleys, supermarkets and hire car companies. (Well, not Hertz, I admit).

        4. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: At Pen-y-gors, re: they know who you are...

          Yes you could do all that but you'd be the proud owner of something that was unmistakably stolen. These city bikes are so obviously city bikes that even if you resprayed the thing everyone would know. I doubt you'd last long before a cop or someone decided to have a closer look. And probably the parts are deliberately proprietary to prevent them being cannibalized.

          Scooters are a different story. First off they can phone home so good luck with that. And even if you take out the gps & mainboard you need to replace it with something that works instead. And a charger. And the simple countermeasure to people doing that is to pour epoxy resin around all the internals - battery, mainboard, electronics, screws etc. so that the effort required to "hack" the thing becomes excessive.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Facial recognition, drones, browsing history, deep state, 5g and amazon shopping history.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Most free bike schemes require you to check the bike out of a station and into another. So they know who took it, how long its been gone and also who to fine if it disappears.

      A docking station is vital to this sort of thing. US cities were littered with scooters because many private companies used systems that allowed them to be dumped anywhere when they were done with. Cities would impound them, people would steal them, business owners would dump them in the trash. They became a blight.

      1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

        Beryl bike share schemes use designated parking bays rather than docks. There is a penalty for leaving a bike outside the bay, but you could stop that dead simply by keeping the meter running until it's back in a bay.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What if you get to your destination and all the bays are full, do you have to keep paying because you couldn't "clock in", or hunt around for a free stand somewhere else? It'll become like hunting for a parking space, until you find one miles away from where you want to be.

          1. Snowy
            Facepalm

            Aye there would need to be lots of docks and lots of docking locations.

            The things will be less than useless if you have to walk to far to get one and then to far once you get to where you where going.

          2. Wilco

            That does happen sometimes with the London rental bikes - docking bays in the city got very busy in the good old days..

            However the app/website does tell you where free bays are (here https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/santander-cycles/find-a-docking-station) so you can plan ahead.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "so you can plan ahead."

              If your lucks in. You head to the nearest dock to where you want to be, but by the time you get there, three other people have already arrived, used up the two remaining spaces and left one wondering if a space will come free or bike off to the next nearest one. Like the apps which tell you where parking spaces are, you can't reserve it, you are still relying on luck.

    4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      users will have to park the scooters at specified docking stations.

      These people with Provisional Licences who can fill in forms. Can they differentiate between "the docks" and "docking stations"?

      Anyone who doesn't might find that there is "the dock" (singular) where they might end up.

  2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    No consistency.

    Let's compare e-scooters with "electrically assisted pedal cycles"

    e-scooters : must have helmet and insurance (max speed about 20mph)

    bike: no need for helmet and insurance. (but max speed 15.5 mph)

    Someone isn't thinking this through. But then, booze and tobacco are legal.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: No consistency.

      I believe the specs are for a max speed of 15mph so match an eBike although of course the latter can go much faster if you pedal.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: No consistency.

        "of course the latter can go much faster if you pedal."

        Which neatly explains why they are different. You can't can't "scoot" a scooter up to those speeds and so the motor is the primary means of propulsion, making it a "motor vehicle" in law, unlike an e-bike, where the motor is legally an "assistive technology", is NOT a "motor vehicle" in law.

    2. Wolfsbane2k

      Re: No consistency.

      Escooters will be limited to 15.5mph, the same point that a road legal e-bike stops giving assistance... and e-bikes can continue to be pedalled faster than that.

      As far as i can tell, the piece is also wrong on helmets - for neither ebikes or rental escooters are helmets mandatory, but recommended, (and highly recommended for e-scooters), as the smaller wheels can be stopped significantly easier by a small thing on the road than a large bike wheel can, which will typically just ride over it.

    3. Hairy Spod

      Re: No consistency.

      I think the scooters can be upto 500w whereas bikes (not requiring a licence) only 250W

      1. ICL1900-G3

        Re: No consistency.

        500 W is fine for ebikes too.

  3. John 110

    Hmm

    "Also the law in England surrounding organ donations changed to an "opt-out" system, where everyone is considered to have consented unless they've actively said otherwise.

    We're sure that's just a coincidence."

    See Faye Kellerman's "Prayers for the Dead"

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    Scamp, not scooter!

    I would never get on one of these maiming machines. I'm just a too old for that crap! Give me 3 wheels and a chair! And a cup holder! For this----->

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scamp, not scooter!

      No more a maiming machine than any other. It's how you use it. Recklessly? Yeah, you'll get what is coming. Sensibly? It will speed up a commute to work where even a folding bicycle might be impossible to store (I fit mine in a boot of a tiny car).

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Scamp, not scooter!

        Two wheels and poor weight distribution, small wheels that can be impeded by any object. Don't laugh, I once hit a cat on my 26" bike (it shot out of some shrubs as I rode by), it was like hitting a sandbag lying in the road.

        Three wheels, slow and steady gets us to the pub!

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Toys for the scallies

    And good for spare parts but deliberately trashing and scavenging these toys useful providers of ecologically friendly mobility will surely be the last thing on anyone's mind!

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Toys for the scallies

      "And good for spare parts but deliberately trashing and scavenging these useful providers of handy organs will surely be the last thing on anyone's mind!

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Toys for the scallies

        what's that now? Organs for free? something,@something? Profit!

        Where's the eski icon?

  6. Jan 0 Silver badge

    Everyone seems to be assuming that these e-scooters are going to be the cheap stand up, small wheel, kids' toy, things. Is no company going to hire out sit down, luggage carrying e-scooters in Piaggio or Aprilia Scarabeo stylee?

  7. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Here's an idea...

    What if instead of electric-bicycles that clutter up the sidewalks & annoy the piss out of some folks, they used electric golf carts?

    Those little two person "Cushman pickup" style things would let folks carry a passenger if needed, haul a decent amount of groceries in the back, and wouldn't require a helmet since the cab is enclosed to protect against the weather.

    Granted, it would need more space to park/charge, but it's unlikely anyone would drive on the sidewalks in them since pedestrians might be tempted to use their phones to take a picture of you doing it & upload it to the police to report you for unsafe driving. You would have to have a valid drivers license & a credit card to rent one, so the police wouldn't have any trouble hunting you down once they had a GPS+Date+TimeStamped photo of you doing something stupid in one.

    Would that be a better idea than the scooters, or just a bigger problem with additional headaches?

    1. Julz Silver badge

      Re: Here's an idea...

      Do it with Italian style:

      https://piaggiogroup.com/en/archive/press/ape-calessino-2009-all-new-colours-and-revolutionary-electric-lithium-electric-version

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: Here's an idea...

        Cute! Italian. Economical. Where's my nearest dealer?

        Ah, http://www.tukxi.com/electro.html close, but no cigar. (I've seen one)

        However, the Ape electric is on the Piaggio UK website...

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Here's an idea...

        That's a TukTuk!!

        (and quite possibly larger than the smallest Smart cars.)

    2. Glen 1 Silver badge

      Re: Here's an idea...

      That's a small car. We already have hire cars/vans/trucks. If you want electric you can hire a Nissan Leaf.

      I seem to remember some pilot schemes where you could hire smart cars on a PAYG basis, and leave them wherever for pickup, but I don't think it lasted very long.

      A rack of bikes/scooters takes up waaaay less space than a car park, and can therefore be located where people actually want to go, rather than the current trend for de-car-ification (sorry) of our city centres.

      In the UK at least, having to pay for parking is a growing problem. Local Councils seem to want to attract the people (or rather their money), but don't want the traffic. People are voting with their feet (and wheels).

      Compare: shopping online. vs out of town retail park/mall vs city centre retail district.

      You can literally get more done from the passenger seat while sat in traffic than traipsing round the shops. There is something to be said for seeing what you are buying, for clothes etc, but once you know you are a certain size in a certain store, is it worth another journey?

      Sidenote: At the moment, a lot of these gate-keeping schemes are based on emissions. (congestion charge, VED). What is going to happen once everything is electric? kW of engine (motor) power?

      I suppose the emissions will have just moved to the power plants. However, as we move to more sustainable energy sources the gate-keeping will be revealed for the lie we already know it is:

      Its not about emissions, its about not having so many vehicles on the road it gridlocks our beleaguered transport infrastructure.

      1. Glen 1 Silver badge

        Re: Here's an idea...

        Or perhaps its about milking folk for the tax/fee revenue.

        Makes you wonder how the (UK) gov will cover the loss of petrol tax revenue...

    3. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Here's an idea...

      Sounds very much like Peachtree City in Georgia which has laid out something like 100km of lanes especially for golf carts and where there are about 10,000 of these things trundling round replacing cars on short journeys.

      Tom Scott has a video:

      https://youtu.be/pcVGqtmd2wM

  8. xyz

    Oh the horror...

    When people start wearing "I'm a Limey" T-shirts.

    If I was a clearer minded thinker, I'd just paint my private e-scooter in Lime (I'm presuming some green) livery and avoid any paymentwork.

    Oh, oh... What happens when you're 6 pints down and scooting home only to hit the 10pm curfew and your Lime turns into a Lemon? You going to carry it the rest of the way?

    And I can't wait for the Friday night pub races... The Pickled Cock vs The Trout and Handbag and such.

    I won't even mention that the GPS geofence probably won't work on the shiney new GbPoS BoJoNav system.

    You can tell i got to work too early this morning.

  9. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen

    His other great transport innovation was to take little-used Teesside airport into public ownership.

    I suppose the runway would make a great place to have scooter races.

    1. Valeyard

      Re: Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen

      I used to use that airport before it stopped passenger flights. The main issue is that newcastle and leeds are both already there with more destinations, Teesside Airport (As it was known) was good for a few domestic flights for students to get home from uni over the holidays but that was about it

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Destined to fail

    Vandalism and theft puts paid to all of these enterprises.

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    ...a provisional licence doesn't necessarily mean someone knows the rules of the road...

    Gobsmacked I was the other day. Slowed down to let a scooter out at a junction and he looked both ways, came out in front, carefully looked past me for other scooter/motorcycle/cyclist doing the "organ donor's overtake" and then went for it.

    Once my flabber had ceased gasting, I looked in my wing mirror at the receding scooter. Aha! No "L" plate on the back...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In Middlesbrough?

    Every last one of them will be nicked or in the Tees within the first week. They might as well put them in Liverpool.

  13. RobbieM
    Pint

    Horrible Things

    I was in Auckland last year where they have the ride and dump version. The streets were littered with abandoned scooters (not supposed to happen with this system) and you had to keep a permanent lookout for the lunatics doing 15 mph on the pavement. Also saw some interesting consequences of large potholes. the phrase 'arse over tit' popped into my head a lot.

    Can't see this being a great success but can see a few boxing matches coming about when somebody crashes into the wrong pedestrian especially later inn the evening now that the pubs are back open.

  14. danbishop

    Pedantic Conurbation Nomenclature

    "The cities named by Houchen to receive the controversial two-wheelers include Darlington, Hartlepool, Stockton, Redcar and Middlesbrough."

    Gah... All of them are towns, not cities. Middlesbrough had a go at becoming a city, but lost out to Sunderland.

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