Bird Launches Electric Scooter Pilot In London As Part Of Ongoing European Drive
A 183-year-old law originally designed to regulate horse-drawn carriages is partly responsible for preventing buzzy Silicon Valley scooter startups from expanding to the UK.
The 1835 Highways Act prevents cattle, horses, and "carriages" — like scooters — from riding the pavement.
Two startups, Bird and Lime, have been in talks with UK regulators about bringing electric scooter hire to London, but can't launch unless the laws change.
They have a chance to influence the law, however, because the British government is currently examining whether transport regulation might be getting in the way of innovation.
Electric scooter startups are spreading across the US, and raising billions of dollars in venture capital as investors pile into the boom in on-demand transport.
The idea is simple: Startups such as Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spin leave their electric scooters available for hire all over a city. Anyone wanting to use one can find one nearby via an app, "unlock" it with the app, then hire it for a small fee per minute. Once they reach their destination, they can leave the scooter anywhere.