November 2020 saw the launch of an e-scooter trial in Basildon, by Spin and it’s just the first of six Essex locations in total. I shared my experience on Instagram, about exploring Basildon on the e-scooter and a couple of conversations really highlighted the need for clearer information regarding the legal use of e-scooters in the UK.
So this post is to clarify how the scheme works, and how e-scooters should be used best…
A Bit About Spin
Before I get into the e-scooters and how to ride the e-scooter, I’m gonna introduce you to Spin. They’re one of the leading micromobility companies in the UK, and are a part of the Ford family of companies.
They’ve already launched in Milton Keynes and now, Essex is next. They’ve been working closely with Basildon and Essex County Council to roll out the fleet safely and sustainably. The e-scooters are a perfectly socially-distanced, affordable and accessible transport option… which is so current and needed right now.
How To Ride E-Scooters Safely & Legally
I’m gonna address the topic of safety and legality right here, so it’s out of the way! I actually didn’t know before I used Spin that it’s currently illegal in the UK to ride a personal e-scooter, outside of a scheme such as this. Did you?!
Having a scheme like Spin in Essex means that more of us can get to ride the e-scooters safely. I’m sure we’ve all seen plenty of them around and in the hour I spent riding in Basildon, I counted at least 4 or 5 individuals riding personal e-scooters. It’s easy to spot an actual Spin scooter – with the bright orange branding – vs a non Spin scooter!
When riding an e-scooter, it’s so important to respect other road users, especially pedestrians and the vulnerable by always keeping an eye out for them. Just like bicycles, e-scooters should not be ridden on pavements. In fact, there are quite a few similarities between riding a bike and riding an e-scooter.
Should you wear a helmet? While it’s not a legal requirement to wear a helmet when cycling or riding an e-scooter, both Spin and I advocate for the use of helmets at all times. This is just one way to look after yourself when riding on the road.
To me it’s also obvious that you shouldn’t ride under the influence of alcohol.
One thing to note about the public hire e-scooter scheme is that you will need a driving license in order to ride. You simply upload a picture of it and get it approved during the sign up process.
The sign up process on the app also takes you through a mini test covering a comprehensive set of rules and safety guidelines. This is where I learnt about not being able to ride on pavements. I failed the test and had do the whole thing again to get 100% pass (it took just a minute or two) so I could access the rentals.
Hopefully all of this highlights that public safety is a priority for Spin and if we all play our part in sharing how to use the e-scooters responsibly, it’ll help to keep schemes like this available!
Now let’s get to the fun bit…
Get Set Up To Spin
E-scooters are such fun way to explore your surroundings and see your local area from a new perspective. It’s been years since I’ve been to Basildon. It was great to jump on the scooter to Gloucester Park and enjoy the fresh air and view.
The sign up process is easy – download the Spin App on your smart phone, upload your driving license and take the test. Then you’re ready to ride!
How To Ride The E-Scooter
Before I set off, I had a little practice of the best riding position which is to have both feet on the board, one in front of the other, with the forward foot in the middle of the board and the other foot behind it.
For safety, you should keep both hands on the handlebars at all times. I didn’t think about this before I went along so couldn’t take photos while riding but I just stopped every now and again to take some to share. Next time, I defo need to take the GoPro!
Depending on which location you hire in, you can drop your scooter off anywhere in the designated area by just parking it. Simply, and always, park near the kerb, not blocking pedestrian space, ramps, or loading docks and make sure that the scooter will stay up on its kickstand – not left leaning over.
In some areas in Basildon, there are designated areas for parking which need to be used (as pictured above).
A few facts about the Spin E-Scooters:
- They have a max speed of 15mph
- The electric bit doesn’t kick in till you push off
- They have a bell and a brake on the handlebars
- They are Geocached so they physically don’t allow you to ride in restricted areas
Wanna Go For a Spin?!
For all my Essex peeps (and London really, ‘cos this is as close as you’re gonna get!), you have to try this out if and when you’re in the area.
As well as whizzing an afternoon away on wheels, the e-scooters are a great option for making short trips, completing a part of a longer trip or commuting. Spin offer free 30-minute rides for eligible NHS workers through the Spin Everyday Heroes programme.
They also offer subsidised rates for unemployed and low-income riders who have a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card through the Spin Access programme.
Simply download the Spin App on your smartphone when you have your driving licence at hand, review a comprehensive set of rules and safety guidelines, and then start your trip!
Have you ever ridden an e-scooter before?! If not, and you have any questions, drop them in the comments below…