Voi e-scooter trial extended to Birmingham suburbs including Harborne, Small Heath and Handsworth

The trial area is doubling in size with neighbourhoods across Birmingham included

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E-scooter company Voi is set to expand its trial across Birmingham with the new operating areas to suburban neighbourhoods across the city.

Expanding to cover 80km2 of Birmingham, the trial will more than double in size by adding more neighbourhoods Voi’s operations - despite concerns about safety.

This means riders can now travel across the city to and from Bordesley Green, Handsworth, Harborne, Bournville, Saltley and Small Heath, as well as Moseley (the old area only covered a small part of Moseley now this has been extended further) as well as Wake Green, King’s Heath, Balti Triangle and Rotton Park.

The extension of the trial in Birmingham comes as plans to make e-scooters legal on public roads were included in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday (May 10). The environmental benefits of taking shorter journeys by e-scooters instead have been highlighted.

Voi, a Swedish company, is also extending its operating hours for riders by an extra hour in the morning as part of the expansion in Birmingham. From today (12 May), they can ride from 5am until 10pm instead of 6am until 10pm.

Yet a survey from National Accident Helpline in March reported that more than half of those living in the West Midlands strongly believe e-scooters are not safe on public roads and cause traffic accidents.

Voi e-scooters Voi e-scooters
Voi e-scooters

Are e-scooters safe?

More than a million e-scooter journeys have been taken in the West Midlands since the trial with Voi launched in September 2020. The tra

The region reported 71 e-scooter related accidents and four casualties during 2021, according to research from the personal injury team at national law firm, Simpson Millar.

According to government figures for 2020, one person was killed and 128 were seriously injured in crashes involving e-scooters on public roads across the country.

Data obtained by the Major Trauma Group from ambulance trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland also showed that 713 e-scooter related accidents were attended by NHS ambulance vehicles during 2021, up from 392 the year before.

The data also reveals that the number of patients being referred to A&E after e-scooter accidents increased by 40% between 2020 and 2021, with 173 patients being taken to their local A&E during 2021.

Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

What have Birmingham transport bosses said about the expansion?

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said, “E-scooters are proving hugely popular in Birmingham and across the West Midlands with almost a million journeys in the city since the trial first launched, many of which have replaced car usage for shorter trips.

“Now we are building on this momentum by doubling the size of the trial zone and increasing the number of e-scooters available to enable even more people to benefit – beating traffic jams and reducing air pollution on our streets.

“The expansion of our scheme coincides with the national debate on the long-term future of e-scooters moving forward in this week’s Queen’s Speech following the legalisation of private e-scooters. We have been ahead of the curve in offering residents alternative modes of transport that improve their quality of life, and I am pleased we are now able to expand this offering.”

West Midlands mayor Andy StreetWest Midlands mayor Andy Street
West Midlands mayor Andy Street

Phil Edwards, Assistant Director, Inclusive Growth, Birmingham City Council added: “I’m really pleased to see a further expansion of the e-scooter service; it is so important that they are available in neighbourhoods across the city so people in all communities can access alternative forms of transport.

“It is another step to improving air quality and part of our ambitious Route to Zero policy – reducing emissions and creating a healthier, greener, more sustainable environment.”

To celebrate the Birmingham expansion, Voi is also offering 15 mins of free riding. Riders need to enter the code BIRM12MAY at the point of purchase, which will be valid until 23.59 hrs on Sunday 15 May.

Extension of Voi e-scooter trials across BirminghamExtension of Voi e-scooter trials across Birmingham
Extension of Voi e-scooter trials across Birmingham

E-scooter trial extended nationally

The e-scooter trial was launched in Birmingham in September 2020, after the Department for Transport announced that e-scooter trials would be allowed to take place across the country as part of a package of measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The governmental e-scooter rental trials were set to end on 31 March 2022, however trials have been extended to 30 November 2022 for local authorities who want to continue with the programme.

The government said that extending the trials will allow authorities to continue to fill data gaps, make the necessary changes to ensure the trials are as safe and well run as possible.

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