Bird seeks to legalise scooters in London

Bird has become the first electric scooter rental company to launch in the UK with a trial on private paths in the Olympic Park, east London, as the start-up seeks to persuade British lawmakers to legalise scooters on public roads. The trial marks the first time Bird has entered a country where electric scooters are banned, and comes as the company and its biggest rival, Lime, embark on ambitious global expansion plans… Electric scooters are banned on public roads in the UK under a law dating back to the 1800s that prohibits “carriages” from riding on pavements… Bird’s rival, Lime, has deployed its bikes and scooters on almost 30 US college campuses over the past year. Other transport start-ups have also taken to private roads to test out experimental vehicles without having to change the law or go through a complex regulatory approval process to be allowed on public streets. Voyage, a self-driving car start-up based in Silicon Valley, has been testing its service in a Florida retirement village, while robotics start-up Starship has been piloting its autonomous delivery vehicles on Silicon Valley office parks. Bird and Lime have raised a combined nearly $1 billion over the past year to fuel their international expansion plans.

Aliya Ram and Tim Bradshaw