back to article Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*

Boffins from UCL's Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory (PEARL) have linked arms with London e-scooter providers to decide on a "universal sound" for the silent but deadly transport mode. It remains illegal in the UK to use a privately owned battery-powered deathtrap, but that hasn't stopped the great unwashed – as …

  1. JimC

    Or just design noisier tyres and let tyre noise do the job?

    1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

      I've been driving my E-Scooter to work for a year. The tires have lost all profile, and since they're solid rubber they're not easily swappable.

      1. Tom 7

        Sounds like they're not road legal then.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In the UK, private e-scooters aren't road legal no matter what state their tyres are in. They can only be legally used on private land.

          1. Tom 7

            I take it the Met are in charge of prosecuting them then.

          2. adam 40 Silver badge

            They are slightly less illegal if you paint yours in the colours of the local hire company....

          3. ReallyEvilCanine

            So… no motorways, huh?

            There goes my cunning plan to use the M25 as something other than a carpark.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > I've been driving my E-Scooter to work for a year.

        Well, that's illegal.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          In the UK it's illegal. If it isn't roadworthy by car or possibly motorbike standards. Lights and cigarette lighter and such. And if it's on a public road or sidewalk.

        2. Alan_Peery

          And luddite laws once forced people to walk in front of cars waving a flag.

          Stupid laws should be overturned.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Stupid laws should be overturned."

            Poor Alan is missing so much by that claim (related to scooters only).

            Here in North scooters have been legal few years now and they are basically a public nuisance to everyone else.

            First: No license needed as they are classified as pedestrians. Which means you can be as drunk as you want and ride as you like, totally legal. Traffic laws do not apply, in short.

            Second, derived from pedestrian status: They ride on sidewalks. At 15mph. AFAIK no-one has yet killed other people but dozens of hospital cases every summer. *More* than pedestrian/car -collisions. Obviously: Cars don't drive at sidewalk and pedestrians staying at sidewalks are not run over by a car. That doesn't apply to scooters.

            Third: About a dozen rental companies running thousands of scooters means they are everywhere, laying around. Mostly with empty battery, but in general they just block sidewalks by laying around.

            Fourth: Scooter as a vehicle is a horrible one. It doesn't have any stability at all (at skateboard level, i.e. none) and it still moves 15mph. Most have only rear brake which, at that speed, and with 2" wheel, is basically meaningless. Any stone or pit on the sidewalk and off goes the rider.

            Fifth: The culture. As it's legally a pedestrian, it mean no traffic laws apply. Ever. So riders*act* like pedestrians too. Except it happens at 15mph, not 1.5mph. Typical rider is a teenager or even younger, who has no idea how the traffic works. Then they wonder why so many things "happen".

            Classifying it as pedestrian is and was a major cock-up, a bicycle would have been much better legal reference. But it's piss poor as a bicycle too, because of the 2" wheels it has.

            It' s easy to see one as efficient transportation without having any idea of the down sides. Those are obvious only afterwards.

            1. MyffyW Silver badge

              Bicycle is much the best category for them. That way those who want to ride them can chance their arm against trucks, double decker buses and my 12 stone of push-bike-and-stroppy-flapper combination.

          2. The Basis of everything is...

            And looking at all the restrictions being brought it, it won't be that long before the flag law is back again.

        3. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

          (Er, I'm not in the UK.)

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Clarification helpful; but you did provoke an interesting conversation; perhaps your omission was deliberate - drop it in and watch the ripples :).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've been driving my E-Scooter to work for a year.

        You live that far from your work?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Well, to be fair ...

          ... most of that time is spent finding, and then using a charger.

        2. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

          It's actually cheaper than taking the bus. (Also there's a pandemic on.) 6km both ways, meaning it's just about enough battery charge to not need charging at work even in winter.

          I used to take my bike, but it's been stuck in a repair shop for a solid year now, and I'm too much of a doormat to really go annoy them about it.

          1. ibmalone

            Turn up and demand it back. Had that happen to me last year, although on a shorter time scale. If they've had it for a year then they've no intention of fixing it and you should take it somewhere else. (In my case it turned out they *could* finish it for that afternoon, after a week of "come back tomorrow", not a great job though and have now got the tools to do that particular job myself.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's what I though. Just mandate square tyres and be done with it.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Stops you rolling backwards down hills…

        Mine's the one with the Hengist Pod label.

      2. jake Silver badge

        I'm fairly sure that I saw on a documentary that you Brits have a chain of shops called "Grot" that sells such items.

        1. Emir Al Weeq

          Have an upvote for the obscure FaRoRP reference.

        2. ravenviz Silver badge

          I think you mean Poundland.

    3. ReallyEvilCanine

      Certainly something with the wheels

      Like a playing card in the wheel spokes… or digital reproduction changing speed/pitch based on the scooter's speed.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Certainly something with the wheels

        Playing Card in the Wheels' sound struck me as a good option, too.

    4. Chris G

      Rather than noisy tyres, just tread on a cat's tail and loop the recording. You may be followed by a pack of dogs but no-one will stand in your way.

      Tie fighter sound is too cool for an e scooter.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        I have two options. No sound at all. i.e. they cease to exist. Two many twart being twatish on them outweighing any benefit.

        Next option is they all play Crazy Frog at max volume while moving. That might well result in option one coming true.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Upvote. But I'd add a third option.

          A loop of '[Clanging bell]... Unclean, unclean'.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            What's wrong with the sound of flatulence?

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

              Everybody Looks When

              They hear the jingles of a Ice-Cream van.

    5. dajames

      Missed opportunity

      A single universal tone? What a missed opportunity for the potentially huge market in third-party scooter "ring tones"!

      1. Grikath

        Re: Missed opportunity

        Ssssttt... That'll be the Next Step..

        Got to give all those mobile "repair-and-rescue" shops an opportunity to add to their repertoire..

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Missed opportunity

        >A single universal tone?

        I was wondering this also, since I've not noticed a single universal tone for electric cars, whether they be going forward or reversing.

        Given the variety of car engine noise, I would have thought it would sensible to define a sound profile that people would recognise as being a moving vehicle and which gives sufficient audio cues to enable a person to roughly determine the direction from which it originating and some indication of its directionand speed of travel. Beyond that let the vendors develop their own 'ring tones'.

        If we are to have universal tones, someone better ensure they are all available under creative commons license.

  2. WonkoTheSane

    Missing options

    * The sound of George Jetson's flying saucer.

    * Jeremy Clarkson shouting "GET OUT OF THE WAY!"

    1. davidp231

      Re: Missing options

      Bojo saying over and over "I didn't know I had broken the rules"

      1. Adair Silver badge

        Re: Missing options

        Surely it should be Bojo saying, "I take full responsibility".

        1. davidp231

          Re: Missing options

          "Surely it should be Bojo saying, "I take full responsibility"."

          He has to say it first.

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: Missing options

            It can go "rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb" then. And you know what makes that go, I mean grow. You get it from horses. (Though, having horses, do you need an e-scooter?)

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Missing options

              "Though, having horses, do you need an e-scooter?"


              But then I'd see little need for e-scooters if I didn't have horses.

              1. ibmalone

                Re: Missing options

                A horse is probably too heavy for most e-scooters anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missing options

      "I'm a moron, let me through!"

      1. adam 40 Silver badge


        (In Brian May's voice)

        "COCK... COCK... COCK...."

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Repeating:

          The Queen lead guitar player doing an impression of James May?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Repeating:

            I think it'd be funnier as written :-)

          2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: Repeating:

            The "Queen "Flash Gordon" music comes to mind, the Dum Dum Dum Dum bit, but if I had one of these, I'd prefer the "Jaws" title music.

            1. Tom 38

              Re: Repeating:

              Lyrics slightly changed to...

              dum dum dum dum dum dum TWAT! ah-ah He'll hit every one of us

            2. bombastic bob Silver badge

              Re: Repeating:

              Mentioning Flash Gordon made me think of Buck Roger's rocket (in those old 1930's era movie serials [as well as a possible full length feature film] with Buster Crabbe) that sounded a lot like the low droning sound of a pulse jet (not to be confused with the sound of a V1 during the WW2 blitz on London, which only posed a danger when the noise STOPPED)

              (either that or it was the sound of a multi-engine airship of the same time period)

    3. Dave K

      Re: Missing options

      I like the Clarkson idea, but only if the voice changes to "POWERRRRR" every time you hit the accelerator.

      1. davidp231

        Re: Missing options

        With May saying "he who is last, shall be first" when braking, and Hammond squeaks when there's a crash.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Missing options

        Not "POWERRRRR" but "Go Faster Damn You."

      3. Snowy Silver badge

        Re: Missing options

        Like it but I think "MOOORRREE POWERRRRR" would be better?

    4. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Missing options

      No, no, I've been advocating for years now that it should be a repeated "I'm a plonker, I'm a plonker"

    5. Warm Braw

      Re: Missing options

      A repeated announcement of "mind the sap".

    6. RichardBarrell

      Re: Missing options

      I too came here to advocate for George Jetson's car's noise.

      1. wub

        Re: Missing options

        I felt like Dan Aykroyd's character in Ghostbusters, in the scene when it's time to "choose the form of the destructor": "I couldn't help it, it just popped in there."

        Why did they not list the only obvious choice?

    7. jake Silver badge

      Re: Missing options

      Upvote for the Jetson's car. Perfect noise for the annoying things. Would cut through the noise of city traffic with ease.

  3. Skiron

    What they need to do is get the bloody things to only do a max speed of, say, 10MPH. Some I see must hit > 20MPH on the PAVEMENT!

    1. Halfmad

      I'm more worried about us not having any strategy for recycling them, other than landfill.

      should be illegal to use until this is in place and ideally owners pay.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Same for electric cars, right?

        1. dajames

          Same for electric cars, right?

          All cars ... why make electric ones a special case?

          1. jake Silver badge

            "why make electric ones a special case?"

            Because their power storage device(s) have no RealWorld means of mass recycling. Real cars, on the other hand, are almost 100% recyclable already.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "All cars ... why make electric ones a special case?"

            Because ordinary cars do not have thousands of AA-sized li-ion batteries in them. Also, ordinary cars are already being recycled.

            Steel, aluminium and lead batteries are trivial to recycle with profit, plastic is a case-by-case, but li-ion is something else. And electric cars have around 100 kilos of those.

      2. Alan_Peery

        They can we recycled according the WEE, like any other electronic device.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          The batteries remain unrecyclable according to the recycling industry.

          There IS work being done on this. But the only companies operating are going $backwards operationally and ripping through VC money (subsidised).

          So for the foreseeable future, @~10yrs the batteries go into landfill. That's about half the car by weight.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          WEE is more about disposal ie. As a business I can't simply drop a dead computer in the dustbin, I have to take to someone who can dispose of it in a way that (supposedly) doesn't negatively impact the environment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I saw one before COVID hit on a main dual-carriageway road with a 40mph limit, weaving in and out of traffic - and it was pulling away from me dramatically! I thought I'd imagined it.

      Then a few weeks ago this was in the news - so I knew I hadn't after all.

      I live in Nottingham, and we have a scooter hire 'trial' ongoing. By 'trial', they mean it's going to be approved no matter what, in spite of the numerous 'incidents'. The state of the scooters' tyres in some cases is shocking.

      They're dumped anywhere. And over 90% of users don't wear the supplied helmets (or any other helmet). The so-called rules are ignored completely.

      In one case, an 8-year old was stopped on one - his mother had paid for it for him. Since you need to have at least a provisional driving licence, and you can only get one of those if you're 17 (or 16 if you have a disability), there was no excuse. You see kids on them - piggy-backing, which is also against the rules - all the time.

      Best of all, electronic billboards are actually advertising the things around the city - not the trial scooters, but the ones that are automatically illegal if used anywhere other than on private property (and with permission from the land owner).

      1. jake Silver badge

        So ...

        ... just like CB radios back in the day, then?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So ...

          Thing is, back in the day, people were using high-power AM CBs with awful RF design on frequencies which had been set aside for other things. Frankly, there should have been more prosecutions.

          When the case for CB radio was finaly made (and I don't doubt that the sheer number of ilegal sets had some small impact, but it was by no means the only thing) they were given separated frequencies and mandated use of FM which had the side effect of requiring far better RF design (you can't do FM with just a diode). Perhaps they weren't quite as usefull over long distances, but in the UK that's not really a problem.

          The sorts of e-scooters bought by people who then go on to run small children over on the pavement are still in the poor-RF, blatting all over legitimate users part of their lifecycle.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: So ...

            >When the case for CB radio was finaly made (and I don't doubt that the sheer number of ilegal sets had some small impact, but it was by no means the only thing)

            People forget before Ofcom selling frequency bands off to the mobile networks, the UK government were very anti anyone doing anything with the radio frequencies that wasn't government controlled.

            802.11 really was an accident, as we have seen there hasn't been an increase in unlicensed frequency bands even though the demand is there.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So ...

          "... just like CB radios back in the day, then?"

          False analogy.

          CB radios are not riding on the sidewalk at 20mph. If they did, they'd be prosecuted really, really fast.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        a rider wearing a helmet does not protect the other person/property when he crashes into someone or something... so who cares about HELMETS anyway? Best to focus on what is important, like NOT injuring pedestrians or making their phones (and other things) fly through the air and break into pieces when hitting the concrete.

        In my part of the world anything on wheels (bikes, skates, scooters, etc.) on a walkway or boardwalk or anything similar can not exceed a certain speed (8 to 10 mph as I recall) but they are not disallowed. As long as people use them responsibly there should be no problem. Bicycles can exceed 30mph and weigh more. So same rules should apply to scooters. But I still like the warning noise idea. It's been floated around for a while now with electric cars.

        Back when I was a kid, large luxury cars ran so quiet I could not tell there was a car behind me sometimes and so I did not get out of the way and the inevitable horn honk nearly made me wreck my bike a couple of times. Don't wanna do THAT noise to pedestrians on the sidewalk, THAT's for sure!

  4. SK

    Yakety Sax!

  5. MikeGH

    a sound going 'WARNING: This vehicle is being used illegally on the pavement, we can take no responsibility for the actions of its rider"

    1. Skiron

      "...actions of the pedestrian when he give you an upper cut".

      There, FTFY.

  6. maffski

    It rings a bell

    So, how to alert people to a small two wheeled personal transport that moves silently through mixed use spaces?

    I can't imagine anyone has ever had to solve that problem.

    1. Arty Effem

      Re: It rings a bell

      A pavement is not a mixed-use space.

      1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

        Re: It rings a bell


        You on a recreational means of motion? Take it to the streets.

        Awww, you too scared to ride with all the big scary cars?

        Maybe that means ain't for you. Take it on the arches.

        Spoken after no less than 7 years as a bike messenger, and after vowing to respect the rules of the road at year 5. Plus, I surbived with blimminal blain blamage.

        1. Alan_Peery

          Re: It rings a bell

          Luddite laws ban them on the streets specifically.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It rings a bell

            For a reason too: Anything as unstable as a scooter *does not belong* to the streets.

            Anyone who believes so is, frankly, a moron. Sorry.

            *Any* irregularity on the street, like water drain or something and scooter rider falls to the tarmac.

            Unstable steering and no brakes to speak of. And literally crashes to every loose stone on the street. No, that's *not* a good idea.

            1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

              Re: It rings a bell

              It's a better idea than allowing them on sidewalks. Wheeled vehicles go on the road, not the sidewalk, and should be subject to the rules of the road.

              1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

                Re: Wheeled vehicles go on the road

                Maybe not prams.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They just need to make them with bigger wheels, so you can stick some playing cards in the spokes. Problem solved.

    1. JimC

      Playing cards? Spot the posh rich kid.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Cigarette cards then.

    2. Tom 7

      Playing cards? Fucking walking stick mate!

  8. agurney
    1. BenDwire Silver badge

      That actually made me laugh out loud! Thanks!

      1. Bitsminer Silver badge

        Rainier had a similar one.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

          Gawd awful to drink though!

  9. Alan J. Wylie

    The answer's simple. A man with a red flag walking in front of the scooter.




    Spoiler for those who don't spot the reference

    1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

      Forgive my thematic repetition, but as a bike messenger I recall lamenting on numerous occasions that the horseless carriages were a death knell to the messenger community...


      ... to blank stares. Not much love of language or history round these parts.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Telegraph, wasn't it? Not the "news" paper, the precursor of Internet.

        1. jake Silver badge

          No, not that new-fangled thing. Gossip, the only method known to man for moving information faster than the speed of light.

          1. agurney

            No, not that new-fangled thing. Gossip, the only method known to man for moving information faster than the speed of light .

            .. or as I've heard it: What's fastest, Telephone, Telegram or Tell-a-woman?

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

              I think I first heard that joke on Jokers Wild!

              Here's a glass to Barry Cryer.

          2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Checking, I see it wasn't the telegraph.


            "The chief engineer of the Post Office, Sir William Preece, in 1878: 'The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.' "

            Some other web pages date this to 1876, and so I don't claim to know that it's authentic.

            But contains a description of him as "in some remarkable ways, an utter blockhead".

  10. Kane
    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nyan Cat



    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Nyan Cat

      That was an old & tiresome waste of bandwidth when it was still Poptart Cat.

  11. Sykowasp

    The engine sound from Amiga Lotus Turbo Challenge II.

    When you turn it on, it can play the theme music.

    (first thought was benny hill theme music, already mentioned, and then the screams of souls eternally trapped in hell, but I guess partially covered by the poll).

    Normal bicycles are silent, and can go pretty fast too. Why can't the same solution be used for e-Scooters, a bell?

    Have you heard the Get-Ir e-Mopeds? No, just a faint whirr, and again, no problem there apparently.

    Just the singling out of e-Scooters, because they're more affordable to the common pleb. But I would support a lower max speed in consumer models (especially targeted at younger people who will use them on pavements).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Normal bicycles are silent, and can go pretty fast too. Why can't the same solution be used for e-Scooters, a bell?"

      Because "we" (for some population of "we") have decided that these newfangled inventions are the devil's spawn and deserve equal parts regulation and scorn.

      This attitude is driven in part by the hatred of seeing someone have a good time doing something we do not understand. It's also partially driven in response to doucebaggery behavior of some of the riders.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "doucebaggery behavior of some of the riders."

        Say "almost all of them" and I'll agree. Riders are legally pedestrians and that shows: No rules. Literally.

        Also technical problem, scooter is literally a toy and it definitely wasn't ever meant to move faster than you can kick it. Basiclly 2-wheeled skateboard.

      2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Damned things are common at my local big city downtown area, which is all one-way multilane streets. I worked there before work at home became a thing. More than once I almost ran over a pack of those scooters thst came barreling across the road, going against the flow of traffic, off the sidewalks. Sonce they were against the flow they couldn't see the oncoming traffic had the red, and they didn't bother looking at the pedestrian light or stop to make sure no traffic was coming. So, I had the green, and am going 25MPH, when across the intersection goes half a dozen or so scooters, racing and weaving amongst themselves. Happened both in the afternoon on my way in, and at around midnight on my way home. Far be it from me to stop anyone's fun, but when their fun means I'm constantly slamming on the brakes and risking being rear ended because they ride like road laws and the laws of physics don't apply, time for the fun to end.

    2. TomPhan

      My electric bike (from Rad Power) get to 25mph, with less sound than a regular push-bike, and it's far heavier than any e-scooter could be.

      1. ClockworkOwl

        And if you're getting any assistance over 15mph, then it's as illegal as any private scooter...

        Laws, cover everyone equally fortunately.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Unless crimes occur in the past

          The Met don't investigate those until someone hands them a dossier of evidence they were about to publish.

        2. Alan_Peery

          I think there's a second classification of e-bike that allows higher speeds, so long as the rider is licensed for motorcycles and wearing a helmet.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Er, I think you'll find that class of vehicle is an electric moped... and needs to be legally registered as such. (i.e. it has to have front & rear brakes, lights, mirrors etc. as well as a registration plate)

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Yes the e-bike user community (and several manufacturers) are very keen to keep the limits on e-bikes so that they can be regarded like traditional bikes as far as the highway code and law is concerned.

      2. breakfast Silver badge

        The difference being that your bike (hopefully) travels on the road and is governed as road traffic, whereas scooters are on the pavement and fall more under pedestrian rules.

  12. Wally Dug

    Potential Noises

    In a similar manner to those "voices" that warn you of a reversing lorry, it could say

    "Super Cool Hipster In Transit" constantly and if it goes faster, just say the initials in a higher-pitched tone "SCHIT".


    "Arrogant bawbag approaching".

    "Entitled to use the pavement whether you like it or not regardless of the law".

    An old-fashioned "mee maw" police siren.

    Various aeroplane engine noises, e.g. Spitfire and Messerschmitt Bf 109.

    "Arrrrgh!!! Gerroutthefukinwayit'sgonnacrash!!!!"

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Potential Noises

      those "voices" that warn you of a reversing lorry

      Warning! Twat coming!

      Warning! Twat coming!

  13. Woza

    Hilly from Red Dwarf

    Saying: "Awooga, Awooga"

    1. davidp231

      Re: Hilly from Red Dwarf

      Or Kryten complaining about having to change the bulb.

      1. Boothy

        Re: Hilly from Red Dwarf

        Coincidentally, Robert Llewellyn who played Kryten (in later seasons), has a toob of you channel for all things electric, in relation to energy and transport, so cars, PV, and of course e-scooters!

        (channel is 'Fully Charged' in case anyone is interested).

  14. andy gibson

    Needs a "Toast of London" spoken warning.

    1. ravenviz Silver badge


  15. andy gibson

    Curious as to why they need a noise, particularly as existing cycles and regular scooters don't make any. Plus the ones you can hire already have a bell or buzzer on them.

    1. Pink Duck


      The legislation change coming Saturday means cyclists and e-scooter riders should give way to pedestrians, just as EV drivers tend to give way to blind people already.

      1. adam 40 Silver badge

        Re: Plus… NOT

        Funny you mentioned that but I read this the other week

        and there is not ONE mention of e-scooters.

        Looks like DafT have cocked up AGAIN.

    2. JDPower666

      I was about to point out the hire scooters in my town don't have any kind of bell or buzzer on them, then googled to be sure and apparently they DO. Yet I did all their tutorials prior to riding and there was zero mention of it, and on the couple of occasions I've used one I've never seen it (nor have I ever heard one make any noise). So perhaps they could start by informing users such a noise making device exists.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think it's a recent addition.

        The Wind company that is involved in the trial here in Nottingham recently (as in December/January) replaced the extant yellow models with neon-green LINK e-scooters from Superpedestrian. And it is the latter which has the bell device.

        This is a good thing as long as you completely overlook the fact that the scooter trial started two years ago, and that many of those causing the problems with them simply aren't going to use the bell (and even if they did it would be in the 'get the f--- out of the way' sense).

        And since the scooters - even the trial ones - are absolutely not supposed to be used on the pavements in the first place, the bell is a bit of a red herring.

        1. JDPower666

          Ah, maybe there's a newer model of the ones here that does have a bell, they've been here for about 2-3 years.

          As for the red herring element, I partly agree, but even using the road it's worth having given the amount of pedestrians who walk out into the road without looking.

          Although as a cyclist I find I already have quite an effective warning system fitted in my face - a hole at the front which emits the words "look out". It even automatically varies the volume and level of cursing depending on the stupidity of the pedestrian.

  16. imanidiot Silver badge

    Just ban the fecking things already. I really don't see what good they do.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      No need to ban them.

      Just observe that as a motor vehicle, they should be used *only* on the road, properly taxed, insured, and MOT'd. And with all the usual penalties for misbehaving drivers, only possibly more so.

      Oh, and to all those idiots that just dump the damn things in the middle of the pavement when they get bored with them... I' assuming salvage rights apply?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I really don't see what good they do.

      Haven't you seen the accident rates?

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Apparently, they're saving the planet… if you ignore the costs of production and disposal and the need for gimps to collect and charge them…

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >Apparently, they're saving the planet…

        To those who don't look at the data...

        There was a recent report (not got reference to hand) which discovered that e-scooters/e-bikes for hire (in the UK) tended to replace waling and other environmentally friendly forms of movement, whereas private e-scooters/e-bikes did actually replace car and other vehicle usage.

  17. Totally not a Cylon

    Steps' greatest hits?

    Normal running noise should from Steps' Greatest Hits with Barbie Girl as the horn sound...

    Should stop the young idiots from wanting to use them....

    1. innominatus

      Re: Steps' greatest hits?

      Or like the anti-yob deterrent outside shops, add to the e-noise a really high pitched squeak that us old folks can no longer hear?

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        Re: Steps' greatest hits?

        Or anything by Cliff Richard.

    2. Fred Daggy Silver badge

      Re: Steps' greatest hits?

      I was going to suggest "It's Raining Men" at full volume for anything above 12 kp/h - a touch above a brisk walk.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never mind the guy saying "Nyyyaaaawwwww", I say we put playing cards on their wheel brackets to make motor sounds like when we were kids. :)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Airhorn from Ocean going liner?

    Don't see why it don't just need a horn or bell like a bike does. We all know that every bike has installed and uses their bell to carefully warn pedestrians of their approach.

    Does this also mean the Mobility Scooters will also get a big roaring engine sound too?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Airhorn

      I've lost track of how many times I've had people in the grocery stores running into me with those things. But no, they're looking at the *shelves* instead of where they're going...

    2. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Airhorn

      We, polite cyclists, talk to pedestrians. Horns and bells are just too shouty.

    3. Chris G

      Re: Airhorn

      I don't know about where you are but the bicycle bells here are about an inch (25mm) in diameter and the tiny 'ding' they make is not discernable in traffic and city noise.

      Particularly when at speed by the time you can hear the bell you are about to be wearing it and the rest of the bike/scooter.

      I quite fancy one of the off road scooters for the trails where I live, with 70 mile range and plenty of power, I could explore further.

      In the city the they should come pre-packed with a Darwin award.

  20. Potemkine! Silver badge

    A Wilhelm Scream recorded nice albums, but that may not fit for a e-scoot. Maybe for this one

  21. David Thorn

    Silence please!

    Imagine a not-too-distant future where every goddam vehicle has to make some form of noise as it moves, and that noise is designed to be distracting enough to make sure you look at it.

    Now imagine a city full of them, and millions of people who live (and sleep) near roads...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silence please!

      What a wonderful advertising potential that could be.

      Bit like when the personalised adverts appeared in Minority Report. All of these scooters and electric vehicles could personally call out to you and tell you about the latest offers as they whizz by.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Silence please!

        Please patent this idea and NEVER LICENSE IT TO ANYONE.

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Silence please!

      Absolutely this. The choice appears to be getting run over if I'm not careful enough to look before stepping into the road or jumping in front of a bus just to stop having to listen to the awful repetitive artificial sound it makes.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Silence please!

      Seeing as it's not April 1st, and lots of reserach has already been done into this

      The original idea of noisemakers was to only work up to about 10-20km/h (where tyre noise is enough to do the job anyway) and be relatively quiet. The intent is to stop them sneaking up on people in carparks, not warn them 200 metres out

      EU regulations on EV pedestrian alerting noise emitters have only existed for 9 years and already cover this. Stand in front of a Leaf sometime. It's fairly unobstrusive

      I still like the idea of a jetsons flitter, but the dictated noise is basically shaped "white noise" - which is better for allowing people to stereolocate the direction than single tones are (this was discovered 40 years ago when trying to find better ambulance tones. A burst of white noise worked far better than bare "blues and twos" in allowing drivers and pedestrians to work out where the thing was coming from and getting out of the way)

  22. breakfast Silver badge

    An opportunity to create spontaneous art

    Every brand should be allocated an instrument and just have an hour or two of free-jazz improvisation on that instrument as the sound. As different scooters approach and pass one another new and unique moments of combined music would be created.

    Also it would have a positive effect on traffic, crowded public transport and house prices as everyone aside from extreme free-jazz afficionados would be driven out of the city pretty damn quick.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An opportunity to create spontaneous art

      I like this idea a lot!

  23. BenDwire Silver badge


    OK, we doubt e-scooters are capable of much over 30mph, if that

    E-scooters are being advertised with claimed speeds up to 50mph, and there are videos on your toob showing 'Organ Doners' weaving through traffic on the North Circular. Completely mad given the state of our roads.

    But yeah, if I was a lot younger and thinner I'd love one!

    1. mtp

      Re: 30mph?

      Darwin awards would rapidly sort out the 50 MPH escooter riders. Shame about the collateral damage though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 30mph?

      > 'Organ Doners'

      Only if they impaled themselves on a railing.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: 30mph?

        Might rather impact the functionality of the required parts for harvesting from the donors!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 30mph?

      You can already buy them with claimed speeds up to 100mph! Greater than 50mph is the norm now.

      The problem is that at that speed, something so light and with such small wheels will become highly unstable if it encounters the smallest deviation in the running surface. Pothole? No chance.

      I have dashcam footage of some asshole face-planting the pavement when he tried to swing on to it from the road and hit the higher part of the kerb.

      Since he (and his mate) had purposely been obstructing me, I made a very extravagant show of laughing at him when I passed him.

  24. ShadowSystems

    How about this one...

    The constant sound of Yoko Ono quote-singing-unquote "I'm a little teapot".

    I can't imagine anyone *wanting* that sound to follow them everywhere, much less *paying* to have it announcing their approach.

    Perhaps an audio deep fake of her shouting "I am a festering twatwomble!" might cause a serious reduction in their use?

    Or, and I realize this might run afoul of a few current laws, but perhaps they can be amended to allow for it: rig the seats to deliver an excrutiatingly painful electric shock through the crotch that causes the driver & passenger (if any) to scream in agony while the device is in motion.

    (Inserts a giant, neon, blinking, scrolling sarcasm tag.)

  25. Mark Reed

    Boop, boop, boop

    But only if the text is read in the officious tone of The Narrator from The Stanley Parable...

  26. Electronics'R'Us


    by Barry Manilow. I understand that was used at Gitmo to torture the inmates.

    So torture the pavement hogging riders while they ride!

  27. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Obviously ...

    The sound of a trotting horse.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Obviously ...

      When I first saw that scene[0], I immediately thought it would turn out to be a hit&miss engine powering a mechanical horse. I still think it'd be funnier my way :-)

      [0] Trailer while watching another film at Harrogate's Odeon, of all places.

  28. mtp

    Clop - clop - clop - clop - ....

    Horse (or coconut shell) noises. Lets go full circle to before cars.

    Come on and admit it - this would be fun.

    1. Emir Al Weeq

      Re: Clop - clop - clop - clop - ....

      Where'd you get the coconuts?

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Clop - clop - clop - clop - ....

        Cargo swallow

  29. Noram

    Clown car horn

    I'd say a clown car horn with the speed of the honks corresponding to the speed of the scooter.

  30. John Gamble

    A Small Suggestion

    I voted for "Flight of the Bumblebee" (the Al Hirt version) (what, am I the only one with fond memories of The Green Hornet as a child?), but I might have voted differently if number 3 were instead "A seven-year-old yelling 'Nyyyaaaaoooowwww'".

  31. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Soooo close

    You almost had it El Reg. The clue was right in front of you...

    "decide on a "universal sound" for the silent but deadly transport mode."

    Hmm, where have I heard that phrase before...? Ah, yes. Let'er rip, but make it less silent, though, for the benefit of humanity.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Soooo close

      Spot on, you beat me to it.

      I suggest that the correct sound to sample is that of Spike Milligan's performance as The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Soooo close

        'Ere, I want a word with you!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever the noise is, please consider how it will sound when a stadium full of people generate the noise in response to the lyrics "I want to ride my E-cycle, I want to ride my bike"

  33. TomPhan


    Perfect opportunity to cram more advertising into the environment. Go past a McDonalds and you'll hear the latest commercial from Burger King (until McD pays a higher rate).

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Advertising

      The last thing we need is more adverts for McDonalds


  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. ecofeco Silver badge


    The sound of silence. Because they are not there.

    Well I can dream, right?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Sound?

      "beats upon the brain"

  36. Winkypop Silver badge

    Transport for London you say

    How about: “Mind the prat” over and over?


    Something like this, perhaps?

  38. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    Sample the sound of a Lambretta, or one of those "Tuk Tuks", with a 2-stroke engine

  39. frankyunderwood123

    Limit the speed?

    Bicycles don't make a noise either and although cyclists shouldn't be cycling where pedestrians walk, the reality is our infrastructure is in a poor shape.

    But the average cyclist is probably doing 15mph at the most and there doesn't seem to be much clamour to change any laws regarding cyclists and pedestrians.

    The issue is the speed, not the sound.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Limit the speed?

      If you're in the UK, there are actually speed limits for cycles and other vehicles(*) on shared paths (6mph unless signposted otherwise). The fact that they're widely ignored is another matter altogether

      (*) Eg: invalid carriages, that's why they have limiters

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Limit the speed?

      "The issue is the speed"

      Common misconception.

      Speed doesn't kill ... Rather, the difference in speed kills.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Limit the speed?

        "Speed doesn't kill ... Rather, the difference in speed kills."

        No, that's also wrong.

        It's the sudden stop that kills.

        Organize room to pass and speed difference isn't relevant. Sudden stops ... well ... they'll happen. Sooner or later.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Limit the speed?

          Shirley 0MPH is a different speed than 60MPH ...

          What is the difference in force if you rear-end a car going 60MPH if you are doing 120MPH, vs you doing 60 MPH and hit the same car when parked?

          How about two cars each doing 60 MPH getting into a head-on?

          How about two cars getting into a head-on, one doing 60, one doing 120?

          For ease in calculation, assume all cars mass the same before percussive dismantling.

        2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Limit the speed?

          ""Speed doesn't kill ... Rather, the difference in speed kills."

          No, that's also wrong.

          It's the sudden stop that kills."

          And a sudden stop isn't a difference in speed?

          Plus; it doesn't need to be a stop to be deadly. A train going at 125mph hitting a rambler walking in the same direction along the train tracks at 3mph will also end up rather bad for the rambler's health, even though neither will 'stop'. Ergo: difference in speed kills.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Limit the speed?

      >But the average cyclist is probably doing 15mph at the most

      That's the speed an averagely fit 12 year old boy. With a little coaching and determination on a good surface they can easily get that up to 20 mph for a few miles...

      At 18 I was averaging 24 mph and could easily burst to 30+... It's why you'll find many cyclists don't use cycle lanes- they aren't designed for speeds over 12 mph.

  40. Captain Hogwash

    The theme tune...

    of the Dick Barton radio series.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

  42. herman Silver badge

    Route Master

    All eclectic vehicles should sound like a British Leyland Routemaster: DARRRR… GAR GAR GAR GAR GAR…

    1. Dave 15

      Re: Route Master

      That will be very difficult, the Routemaster was an AEC bus not Leyland, it is also brilliant Nd much missed, curse the bonehead Labour mayor who replaced them with inflammable mercedes bendy buses that didn't fit but furnished him with a personal backhander

  43. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Val Doonican's

    version of the Marvelous Toy, select excerpts thereof:


    "Zip" when it moves, and "Bop" when it stops, and "Whirrr" when it stands still.

  44. ravenviz Silver badge

    I think they should all be banned and instead we all travel by trebuchet.

    A suitable hexagonal array could be installed to minimise longer journeys.

  45. the Jim bloke

    going counter to most suggestions here

    but I like the idea of a recording of an idling Harley Davidson, edited to be deeper and slower than any real IC engine could manage - possibly getting towards the drums in the deep, of LOTR fame.

    The reasoning is that any E-ridable user wont realise how much more ridiculous it makes them appear,.. and it will probably get them punched by a bikie.

  46. TDog

    Ride of the Valkyries

    Interspersed with random "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" quotes.

  47. Evil Auditor Silver badge


    I see boops, I click. No?*

    But what I'd really like them to blast is Ride of the Valkyries in Apocalypse Now style.

    * yep, mine's the one with the dictionary in its pocket

  48. Dave 15

    Obviously should be ride of the valkyries

    How did no one think of this? However with people afraid of their own shadow and governments full of bullshit bring in pointless laws to restrict every facet we make in order to get backhanders from companies that benefit from the rules these scooters are going to be stifled, leaving people using cars for short journeys

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Obviously should be ride of the valkyries

      Perfect music as our e-scooter riding heros are swept off to Valhalla.

  49. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Jetsons flitter noise

    That's what gets overlaid in a number of comedy videos anyway

  50. Peter Mount
    Thumb Up

    The last couple of years there's been one locally

    In 2020 & 2021 there's been a young lass who's been riding a scooter past my house on a semi-regular basis.

    I know when she's passing by when there's this beep-beep-beep as she goes past.

    It's actually a nice, clear & plain to alert someone near by that she's there.

    She probably doesn't realise what good she's doing but one to push forward as the way to go,.,,

  51. xyz123 Silver badge

    Just have a voice saying "TWAT!" every 5-10seconds.

    Any blind people will instantly know its a loser on an e-scooter

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Steady on Victor Meldrew. It might just be somebody who cares a bit more about the environment, and decides to take the scooter instead of being another twat in a car clogging up the roads.

  52. xyz123 Silver badge

    Just a long drawn out fart sound as you travel. Nice loud and horribly moist-sounding.

  53. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    How about a hurdy gurdy sound?

    Or Break Your Crank sounds somehow appropriate...

  54. W.S.Gosset Silver badge


    Whatever sound is selected, it needs to have a night-time volume & pitch reduction. Same as your phone switches down brightness and colour-temperature for the different context.

    Otherwise, that reasonably-audible high pitched beep (or whatever) will be teeth-grindingly loud, and piercing/carrying, in the relative quiet of the evening and night. They would turn into a plague for everyone with ears within 100m of their entire path, as opposed to only the people physically & proximally in one moment of their path as at present.

  55. djnapkin

    Until the UK gets up to date and legalises them, they miss the opportunity to regulate them.

    Or maybe the UK thinks the war on drugs went well.

  56. Tubz Silver badge

    I much prefer "Warning, Dickhead/Asshole/Cretin/<insert your own valid description> on a scooter approaching" voice by Brian Blessed

  57. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    " anyone who has suddenly had to dive off the path during a parkland walk will tell you"

    These things are absolutely everywhere round where I live, but I have never - EVER - seen anybody need to dive off a path to get out of the way; or anything remotely close. They're no more or less dangerous or a nuisance than cyclists, and there's zero reason to keep them illegal other than padding the state's coffers.

    1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Yes, because YOU have never seen it. I have had to jump aside on a sidewalk because a pack of them approached at speed from behind me, and had I not started stopping before the ends of buildings I'd have been run down more than once. These jokers don't even stop to cross roads, they just barrel out into traffic in packs. I've seen at least one of them hauled off in an ambulance for doing that as well.

      For me, this is the silver lining of COVID - I don't have to go downtown anymore, and that's about the only place I see scooters.

  58. circusmole


    GTOGER on the web. Search for a recording including e-scooters.

  59. Real Ale is Best

    Hire Scooters

    I'd prefer the makers to find a way of preventing them from being ridden on pavements.

    The hire company ones in particular, though these are at least trackable to the person whose account was used to hire them.

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