Shared micromobility within the UK

Front cover with the bold orange text shared micomobility within the UK. A purple and black LGA logo in the top left and along the bottom is a bold orange bar with reports in negative white on the left.
As part of the LGA’s ongoing work to support local transport improvement and in particular decarbonisation, the LGA’s Economy, Environment, Housing and Transport Board commissioned this report exploring shared micromobility in the UK.


"As part of the Local Government Association’s (LGA’s) ongoing work to support local transport improvement and in particular decarbonisation, the LGA’s Economy, Environment, Housing and Transport Board are keen to explore new and developing modes of transport and business models that could improve accessibility and sustainability.

Many local authorities have already taken significant steps developing shared micromobility schemes, covering the rental of a growing class of small, light and zero emission powered vehicles capable of speed up to 15 miles per hour, such as e-bikes, e-scooters and cargo bikes. There remains huge potential for expansion but a clear need to get it right – especially in terms of public safety and support - by learning from colleagues and best practice here in the UK and around the world.

Refreshed Local Transport Plans will likely determine future funding, and new guidance is expected to require consideration of, and even provision for, higher uptake of new mobility options like shared e-scooters, e-bikes and cargo bikes. This report on shared micromobility aims to colleagues as they look to start or continue their plans on new mobility."

Cllr David Renard
Economy, Environment, Housing and Transport Board
Local Government Association

Many local authorities have already taken significant steps developing shared micromobility schemes...There remains huge potential for expansion but a clear need to get it right – especially in terms of public safety and support - by learning from colleagues and best practice here in the UK and around the world. 


Micromobility encompasses a wide range of small lightweight vehicles including bikes/e-bikes, e-scooters and cargo bikes. The rise of different micromobility modes is evident across the world with e-bikes and e-scooters being the most prominent. A 2022 micromobility market report put the global market value of micromobility to be about £37 billion in 2020, with expectations to reach over £169 billion by 2030. Shared micromobility schemes have been introduced in many cities across the world including in the UK.

Shared micromobility can provide access to an e-scooter, bike/e-bike or cargo bike without the need to own one, enabling flexible, affordable and environmentally friendly transportation. Shared micromobility provides short-term access to vehicles for trips within a defined operating area. Vehicles are either booked via an app or at physical kiosks/pillars typically located next to where the vehicles are parked. Users pay on a trip-by-trip or a subscription basis.

Shared micromobility can be an important contributor to transport decarbonisation encouraging mode shift from private cars, improving air quality, and reducing congestion. This is particularly pertinent with the UK Government committed to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and with many local authorities declaring a climate emergency. Furthermore, it is understood that the Government’s forthcoming updated Local Transport Plan (LTP) guidance will recognise the need to respond to climate and environmental challenges alongside new transport technologies. In this context, shared micromobility is, therefore, important as a relatively new mode of transport that could support addressing climate change challenges.

Whilst there are different micromobility vehicles available in the market, this report is focused on:

  • shared bikes/electric bikes (e-bikes)
  • shared electric scooters (e-scooters)
  • shared cargo bikes/electric cargo bike (e-cargo bikes).

There are different shared micromobility operating models which could be implemented including (in this context, ‘publicly’ owned or operated refers to a council or transport authority):

  • Publicly owned and operated vehicles (there are limited examples of this operating model with none in the UK at the moment; however, Nice bike share in Minnesota, U.S., previously fell under this model but now is run by a private company).
  • Publicly owned and operated by a private operator. Operations may be subsidised by the transport authority (Santander cycle hire scheme in London).
  • Privately owned and operated: a licence/permission to operate is granted by the relevant authority (combined, local or transport) to one or more private operators who provide and operate vehicles at their own cost but are typically closely monitored by the transport authority (a rental e-scooter trial in London).

Parking models

There are also different parking models available, which can be categorised as either station based or free floating.

Station based:

  • physical docking stations: micromobility vehicles must be parked at fixed docking stations
  • hub-based stations: micromobility vehicles must be parked in parking bays with light infrastructure such as parking racks
  • geofenced and marked parking bays: geofencing refers to location enabled technology, typically via GPS, which can create virtual geographic boundaries that restricts where shared micromobility vehicles can operate. With e-scooters, sometimes this is introduced to reduce the speed of the vehicle. In this case, journeys cannot end until the e-scooter or e-bike is parked in a designated parking bay (painted markings and signage) at the end of their trip.

Free floating:

  • free floating systems: micromobility vehicles can be parked anywhere within the operating area.

There are benefits and challenges associated with each of these parking models both in terms of cost, user experience, maintenance, and fleet distribution, which is explored in more detail later in the report.

The global shared micromobility market has grown significantly over the past five years, particularly with the rise of shared e-scooter schemes. According to a North American Bikeshare and Scootershare Association 2021 report at least 298 cities in North America had a shared e-scooter or bike share scheme and 50 per cent of cities with bike share schemes had e-scooter fleets. A 2021 Autonomy shared micromobility report found shared micromobility schemes (bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters) available in more than 420 cities and towns in Europe, spreading across 35 countries with more than 150 different operators.

Shared micromobility companies in the UK include but are not limited to Beryl, Serco, Lime, Dott, Tier, Voi, Ginger, Neuron, and Hourbike. The CoMoUK Annual Bike Share report found in the UK, there are currently:

  • Thirty-nine bike share schemes with around 1.8 million members – defined as anyone who has used the bikes in the last 12 months. It is worth noting, these are on-street self-service schemes. There are, however, many others including smaller closed/community run schemes.
  • Thirty-one shared e-scooter trial areas in England launched by the Department for Transport (DfT).
  • E-cargo bike share schemes are emerging with operations launched in Manchester and London.

To successfully develop shared micromobility schemes, approach to procurement, micromobility parking, and infrastructure, provision needs careful consideration to ensure the benefits of shared micromobility are fully realised.

This report provides an overview of the shared micromobility sector and is structured as follows:

  • overview of the current legal position of micromobility modes in the UK, noting the current differences between private and shared modes (e-scooters)
  • summary of the different shared micromobility parking models
  • summary of the different shared micromobility operating models (how a scheme is managed)
  • summary of shared micromobility benefits and how shared micromobility schemes can contribute to Local Transport Plans (LTPs) and transport decarbonisation
  • considerations around implementation of shared micromobility schemes including areas such as procurement and supporting infrastructure
  • a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section. 

Micromobility regulation


The current UK micromobility regulation has not caught up with the speed of development of new types of micromobility vehicles. However, the UK Government plans to introduce a Transport Bill to provide greater regulatory clarity on new forms of micromobility vehicles including e-scooters and other types of light electric vehicles.  

The following section provides an overview on the relevant UK micromobility regulation. The primary focus for this section is on e-scooters and e-bikes; pedal bike regulation is not explored in detail given this has been well established for many years. It is worth noting that cargo bikes are either governed by e-bike or regular bike regulation depending on the use of electrical assistance.


E-scooters come under the category of ‘powered transporters’ in the UK. The government defines powered transporters as a variety of novel and emerging personal transport devices which are powered by a motor including e-scooters. E-scooters are classified as motor vehicles under the Road Traffic Act 1988, which means the rules that apply to motor vehicles, also apply to e-scooters. The Road Traffic Act 1988 defines a ‘motor vehicle’ as ‘any mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads. E-scooter users are, therefore, required to have a driving licence, insurance, and tax.

Private e-scooters in the UK are de-facto illegal to use on public roads given the challenge in meeting tax, insurance, vehicle standards and driving licence requirements. However, it is legal to use e-scooters on private land with the permission of the landowner. Although it is not illegal to sell powered transporters such as e-scooters, responsible vendors should provide customers with accurate information regarding the legal restrictions and terms of their use.

In July 2020, the DfT fast tracked regulations allowing trials of rental e-scooters to support a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and gather evidence to help inform future policy and regulation. Rental e-scooters need to be covered by an insurance policy (for users and the vehicles), users are required to have a valid driving licence (provisional licences are also permitted) and helmets are recommended but not mandatory. E-scooters are allowed to be used on the same road spaces as bikes and Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs) (both on the road and in cycle lanes).

As part of the trials, the DfT have defined a sub-category for an e-scooter being a motor vehicle that:

  • is fitted with an electric motor with a maximum continuous power rating of 500 watts and is not fitted with pedals that are capable of propelling the vehicle
  • is designed to carry no more than one person
  • has a maximum speed not exceeding 15.5 miles per hour
  • has two wheels, one front and one rear, aligned along the direction of travel
  • has a mass including the battery but excluding the rider not exceeding 55 kilograms
  • has means of directional control via the use of handlebars that are mechanically linked to the steered wheel
  • has means of controlling the speed via hand controls and a power control that defaults to the off position.

DfT trial requirements

All local authorities were asked to submit proposals which could meet the DfT’s requirements. Operators are required to have appropriate insurance in place and arrangements for central data access for third party evaluation. In addition, Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are required to be updated by councils to allow e-scooter use on bike lanes and tracks alongside amendments to signage and road markings. Safety issues were also considered and addressed for the trials including vehicle design and maintenance, a mandatory minimum level of training for new users and helmet use.

Additional trial requirements introduced by the DfT in April 2022 included improvements around general safety such as lower speed limits for new riders, parking incentives, penalties and improved geofencing.

Non-regulatory e-scooter trial controls

Local authorities have been able to add additional requirements such as the duration of the trial period, total number of e-scooters allowed in the scheme, the areas where e-scooters can be parked and the application of geofencing to limit or slow vehicles in specific areas.

There are currently 31 regions across England holding the trials, and councils can extend the trials until the end of 2024.


E-bikes have their own regulatory requirements. E-bikes which meet the EAPC categorisation must have pedals which assist the rider when pedalling through a small electric motor (pedelec). EAPC requirements include:

  • the bike must be fitted with pedals that can propel it
  • the bike must show either the battery voltage or maximum speed on the bike
  • the bike must show the power output or the manufacturer of the motor on the bike
  • maximum continuous rated power must not exceed 250 watts
  • electrical assistance must be cut off when the vehicle reaches 15.5 miles per hour
  • users must be aged 14 and over to ride an e-bike.

If the bike meets the EAPC requirements it is classed as a normal pedal bike which means users can ride it in bike lanes and paths and anywhere else pedal bikes are allowed. In addition, EAPCs do not require users to have a driving licence, registration, be taxed or insured. All shared e-bikes meet the EAPC classification.

If the EAPC requirements are not fulfilled, then the vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle on UK roads. Electric bikes which fall outside of the EAPC requirements require type approval. Type approval is the process whereby the UK Government ensure that a vehicle meets specified performance standards. The Vehicle Certification Agency is responsible for issuing the UK type approvals on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport. Type approval should be completed by the manufacturer or importer before purchase. The vehicle should have a plate showing its type approval number. In addition, the user will need to have a driving licence, insurance and wear a helmet.

For electric bikes, type approval must be sought if either: 

  • it can be propelled without pedalling (a ‘twist and go’ EAPC); and
  • it does not meet the EAPC rules.

Twist and go e-bikes typically include a throttle or similar control that provide electric assistance without the use of pedals. A recent change in UK law to bring it in line with European law was made in 2016 which allows some twist and go e-bikes to fall under the EAPC classification without a need for type approval. The change in the law stated that any EAPC produced since 2016, with a throttle feature, does not require type approval if the throttle feature is limited to 3.7 miles per hour. Any e-bikes with a throttle that provides assistance above this, without the rider pedalling, are classed as motorcycles or mopeds. It should be noted that any twist and go e-bike that was manufactured, imported, and sold prior to 2016 is not subject to these restrictions.

The same requirements apply to e-cargo bikes in terms of adhering to the EAPC rules.

Future regulation

The Queen’s speech on 10 May 2022 announced the UK Government’s intention to introduce legislation on the future of transport in the new parliamentary session as part of the Transport Bill. The Government intends to create a new, low-speed, zero-emission vehicle (LZEV) category which would be different from the cycle and motor vehicle categories. It is understood that new powers, to be set out in the Transport Bill, would allow the Government to decide which vehicles fall into this new category in the future and establish how the vehicles should be regulated. In addition, the bill will likely provide new powers for local transport authorities to manage rental operations for both shared e-scooters and e-bikes.

Shared micromobility parking models

There are different parking models available which can be used for all types of shared micromobility vehicles (e-bikes, e-scooters, cargo bikes). The shared micromobility market is constantly evolving with different parking models more prevalent for certain modes. Additionally, a hybrid of the different parking options can be introduced by a council.

Table 1 presents a summary of parking models available in the UK with a brief description, and considerations of their respective benefits and challenges.

Table 1: Micromobility parking models

Parking model Benefits and challenges Current UK market state

Station based: physical docking stations

Micromobility vehicles must be parked in fixed docking stations.


  • a more orderly scheme with tidier fleet parking
  •  more efficient operations, for example physical docking stations can allow greater surveillance of vehicles for fleet redistribution
  • higher customer satisfaction due to reliability of parking locations
  • clear locations for users to understand where to park and pick up micromobility vehicles
  • ability to pay without a smartphone which supports inclusivity
  • can reduce levels of vehicle theft
  • predictable pick-up points.


  • parking infrastructure can be expensive to implement because it requires additional hardware
  • some physical docking stations require power connection which can be costly and time-consuming
  • challenges with increasing the geographic footprint of the scheme and less flexibility for vehicle upgrades
  • potential for vehicle overflow when the docking station is full
  • requires a dense network of parking bays to improve scheme usability.

This parking model is more widely adopted by bike share schemes. However, it is increasingly being used for e-bikes (sometimes in complement to original bike share schemes).

There are limited examples of shared e-scooter schemes with physical docking stations.


  • e-scooters: Milton Keynes (Spin, now Tier)
  • bike/e-bike: London (Santander Cycles) and New York (CitiBike)
  • e-cargo bike/cargo bike: Berlin (Sigo).

    Station based: hub-based stations

    Micromobility vehicles must be parked in physical parking racks in parking bays.


    • tidier fleet parking without the higher costs of fixed docking stations
    • cheaper and easier to install than fixed docking stations
    • some hub-based stations can allow for multi-modal docking for a variety of operators (including shared e-scooters, e-bikes/bikes and e-cargo/cargo bikes)
    • clear locations for users to understand where to park and pick up vehicles
    • predictable pick-up points
    • easier to expand the number of stations compared to schemes with fixed docking stations.


    • hubs can cause obstruction on footpaths and affect pedestrians with visual impairments. However, the hubs can be designed in a way to mitigate this and are better compared to free floating parking in this context
    • compared to docking stations, vehicles can be more vulnerable to theft
    • requires a dense network of parking bays to improve scheme usability
    • more expensive to implement compared to geofenced parking bays model.


    More locations are adopting this model as a slightly lighter touch approach to the docked model offering the benefits of physical infrastructure but with lower costs and greater flexibility.

    This model is more widespread for e-bike/e-cargo bike operations.


    • e-scooters: Portsmouth (Voi rental trial)
    • bikes/e-bikes: Brighton (BTN BikeShare)
    • cargo bikes: London, Hackney (cargo bike share).

    Station based: geofenced and marked parking bays

    Micromobility vehicles must be parked in designated parking bays (painted markings and signage) at the end of their trips.


    • geofencing technology provides flexibility for introducing parking bays
    • geofencing allows for multi-modal docking (including e-scooters, e-bikes and cargo bikes)
    • fast and relatively low cost to implement, locations can be added and adjusted flexibly
    • ability to expand/retract a scheme with limited warning
    • predictable pick-up points and ability to better manage parking (over free-floating).


    • marked parking bays can cause obstruction on footpaths and affect pedestrians with visual impairments. However, marked parking bays hubs can located to mitigate this and are better compared to free floating parking in this context
    • a lack of physical infrastructure means vehicles can topple in high winds (particularly e-scooters and e-bikes) and are more susceptible to vandalism
    • relies on accuracy of the geofencing technology
    • requires technology capable of enforcing bays alongside strong user education, incentives, or penalties to enforce parking
    • requires a dense network of parking bays to improve scheme usability.

    This model has been widely adopted in recent years, particularly with the advent of technology based shared micromobility companies seeking to adopt a lighter touch infrastructure model. 

    The majority of shared e-scooter schemes use this model in the UK. 


    • e-scooters: London (rental trial)
    • e-bikes/bikes: London (Human Forest).


    Micromobility vehicles can be parked anywhere within the operating area.


    • flexibility and ease of introducing parking bays
    • ability to expand/retract a scheme with limited warning
    • potentially fast and low cost to implement
    • greater convenience for users dropping off and picking up vehicles where they like.


    • free-floating vehicles can cause obstruction on footpaths and negatively impact pedestrians especially those with visual impairment and individuals with pushchairs
    • can create street clutter with vehicles left in inconvenient locations
    • provides less control over parking
    • vehicles can topple in high winds (particularly e-scooters and e-bikes)
    • more susceptible to vandalism (across all modes)
    • fleet redistribution can be more challenging
    • in the absence of predictable pick-up points, users can be deterred which in turn can reduce ridership levels.

    This model largely arose with the advent of ‘dockless’ bike share models when they first came to market (OfO and Mobike in the UK). 

    This model continues to be used in many locations in Europe by shared e-scooters and e-bikes operators.


    • e-scooters: Bergen (Voi, Ryde, Bolt)
    • bike/e-bikes: London (Lime).

    Shared micromobility operating models

    There are different types of shared micromobility operating models available which can be applied across different vehicle types, eg e-bike, e-scooters, cargo bikes. The shared micromobility market is constantly evolving with different operating models more prevalent in certain geographies.  

    Table 2 presents a summary of key operating models in the UK highlighting their associated benefits and challenges. 

    Table 2: shared micromobility operating models

    Model description Benefits and challenges UK examples

    Publicly owned and operated:

    Vehicles are owned and operated by the council or transport authority.


    • potential to be cost-efficient (eliminating the operator’s cost mark-ups)
    • full control of scheme operations by the transport authority.


    • transport authority owns all the risks, for example revenue risk and theft and vandalism risk
    • lack of previous bike share experience and public transport operations in delivering these services.
    Currently, there are no UK examples of this type of operating model - Nice Bike in Minnesota, U.S., previously fell under this model but now is run by a private company.

    Publicly owned and privately operated:

    Vehicles are owned by the council or transport authority and operated by a private operator. 
    Operations may be subsidised by the council or transport authority.


    • potential to change operator on non-delivery
    • transport authority influences the shared micromobility strategy and scheme characteristics and, as such, the scheme is likely to have public transport authority support
    • the collaborative approach can ensure changes are negotiated and risks are shared
    • operational efficiency is based on set key performance indicators (KPIs) allowing for assurance and monitoring of performance
    • the operator has experience of running shared micromobility schemes.


    • expansions and variations may be slow to implement as will need to be agreed (and potentially funded) with/by the operator and the transport authority
    • need for a procurement process.
    Santander Cycles in London and Transport for Greater Manchester’s Bee Active bike share scheme.

    Privately owned & privately operated

    A licence or permission to operate is granted by the council to one or more private operators who provide and operate vehicles at their own cost but are typically closely monitored.    Benefits
    transport authority sets the minimum standards.


    • operators lead on the strategy with flexibility to manage the risk.
    • it can provide efficient operations (at least in the short-term) due to limited upfront investment from the transport authority, and with the ability to cater for high demand areas with relatively short notice and minimal spending
    • with different operators using the same parking bays, it encourages competition and can drive investment and may improve the service. 


    • operator takes all the revenue income (possible profit share at per cent above costs)
    • potential threats to the long-term viability and sustainability owning to the high private sector involvement (for example profit maximising objective)
    • transport authority has limited control over the pricing and operations
    • operator may leave the area if the scheme is not commercially feasible and there is no subsidy.

    The current shared e-scooter trial in London.

    Shared micromobility benefits

    Shared e-scooters: benefits:

    • Encouraging mode shift from private cars: a survey conducted as part of the e-scooter trial in Birmingham found that 31 per cent of respondents would have used a car had e-scooters not been available (2021). The results from the Solent e-scooter trial results revealed that 283,000 car and taxi trips were replaced by e-scooter trips promoting mode shift. The average trip duration was between 15 and 20 minutes, highlighting the potential for e-scooters to replace short car journeys. The TfL e-scooter trial has reported that over 180,000 people have used the scheme, with the most popular hour to ride an e-scooter being between 6-7pm, suggesting the scheme is popular with commuters. A 2022 Voi/Volterra study estimated that their shared e-scooter operations have removed four million independent car trips from the road in the UK since their operations began in October 2020 through to April 2022.

    • Increased public transport accessibility: shared e-scooters have the potential to support first and last mile trips to key transport hubs and stations, particularly as an alternative transport mode in areas with limited public transport accessibility. For example, a 2021 Universty of Salford e-scooter trial report found that 28 per cent of users stated that e-scooters can provide an alternative mode of transport where public transport accessibility might be low. E-scooter journey distances typically range from one to five miles making them an attractive transport option for first and last mile connections.

    • More efficient urban transport and reduction in carbon emissions: the report also found travelling by e-scooters could be quicker than in a private car due to the ability to avoid traffic use of cycle lanes and short cuts and ability to park close to the location. E-scooters’ compact design allows for more efficient use of road space supporting reduction of congestion in urban areas, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality. E-scooters also produce no tailpipe emissions making it a greener transport mode compared to cars. The Solent e-scooter trial has reported that since the trial began in 2020 there has been a total CO2 equivalent saving of 126 tonnes up to January 2022. It should be noted that the methodology for calculating the carbon savings from e-scooters and, more generally, across all electric transport is still emerging. The Voi/Volterra study estimated that if their operations were made permanent, it could result in up to £64m of decongestion benefits.

    • Social inclusion: e-scooters enhance social inclusion through providing access to work and education, particularly for people who might have limited public transport options, or for people who might struggle to walk and cycle for longer distances. In 2021, the Salford e-scooter trail was extended when 130,000 rides were completed. In addition, many e-scooter operators In the UK offer discounts to NHS and emergency workers and students. For example, Lime established the Lime Access scheme to provide discounted rides for emergency workers, concessionary travel pass holders and individuals with low incomes. At a wider scale, Voi estimate that their existing trial areas could provide £53 million of socio-economic benefits in 2022 alone. 

    • Cheaper transport alternative: a 2020 Cenex report found shared e-scooters can provide a cheaper transport alternative to the private car. Unlike with private cars which have high capital and maintenance costs, shared e-scooters can be hired at a relatively low cost, with no capital or maintenance outlay. A Dott gender gap study noted how a reduction in price or tailored tariffs are of considerable importance for making e-scooters a more inclusive and attractive mode, thus, if priced appropriately, e-scooters could have significant potential in providing a cheaper alternative to the private car. 

    Shared e-bikes: benefits: 

    • Encouraging mode shift from private cars: e-bikes have the potential to support modeshift from private cars. The CoMoUK Annual Bike Share report found that more people use e-bikes to replace car trips at 34 per cent compared to 24 per cent for regular cyclists. The survey also identified that 53 per cent of respondents said they would have made their last trip by car or taxi if bike share had not been available, highlighting the potential for modeshift. The DfT’s Shared Electric Bike Programme report also found that 31 per cent of participants used bike share for commuting at least once a week, pointing at the potential for e-scooters to replace commuting journeys by car.
    • Increased public transport accessibility: the research by CoMoUK highlighted that suburban areas have the greatest opportunity for e-bike take-up - connecting suburban areas to city/town centres. The CoMoUK Annual Bike Share report  revealed that 46 per cent of respondents use e-bike share because it makes their journeys easier and 26 per cent state they use e-bike share because they do not have access to public transport.
    • Reduction in carbon emissions: e-bikes are electric, so they do not emit any tailpipe emissions and associated harmful chemicals affecting health and the environment. The CoMoUK Annual Bike Share report stated that there is an average reduction of about 2.3 car miles and 1kg of CO2 emissions every week per e-bike share user. A study by the University of Leeds found that e-bikes have the capability to cut CO2 emissions in England by up to 50 per cent (about 30 million tonnes per year).
    • Serving the needs of different user groups: e-bikes widen the appeal of cycling, particularly for older people and individuals with disabilities, due to their assistive nature. The CoMoUK Annual Bike Share report found that 45 per cent of respondents use e-bikes because they help with riding up hills, 42 per cent ride because e-bikes reduce fatigue or getting sweaty and 39 per cent of respondents use e-bikes to travel longer distances. There was also no significant age difference between the e-bike riders – indicating that e-bikes can serve wider demographics.
    • Improved health/fitness: the CoMoUK Annual Bike Share report showed that for many respondents e-bikes help overcome health difficulties or low fitness levels. This highlights that e-bikes provide an opportunity for wider participation in sustainable transport. Cycling also has a proven benefit for mental health, wellbeing and sleep quality. For example, the DfT’s Shared Electric Bike Programme report found that of those using an e-bike, 58 per cent felt happier and 41 per cent healthier.

    Shared cargo bikes/e-cargo bikes

    Cargo bikes are specifically designed to carry a load and vary in their design and weight carrying capacity: smaller models can carry loads of 100kg and larger models up to 300kg. The design of cargo bikes varies between carrying a front or rear load and having an open or a closed carrier.

    Shared cargo bikes/e-cargo can be used by both individuals and businesses to move goods or people. The CoMoUK Annual Bike Share Survey reported that 67 per cent of respondents supported the introduction of e-cargo bikes for carrying shopping or other loads, whilst 21 per cent of respondents showed interest in e-cargo bikes for carrying children.

    London borough of Camden is piloting an Ourbike Community Cargo Bike Share Scheme provided by Peddle My Wheels allowing residents and businesses to hire a cargo bike by the hour. If the pilot is successful, Camden hopes to expand the scheme to more locations. Another example of shared cargo bike scheme is the Hackney shared cargo bike scheme in London, operated by Beryl, which has recently launched eight e-cargo bikes in Hackney. The bikes are available for hire on the spot or can be reserved via the beryl app. The bikes cost £1.50 to unlock and have an 80 kilogram carry limit.

    The first Amazon micromobility hub in Hackney for a fleet of e-cargo bikes which will replace many of Amazon’s van deliveries in London. Along with Amazons’ existing fleet of electric vehicles, the new e-cargo bike micromobility hub will contribute to five million deliveries a year across a 10th of London’s ultra-low emission zone postcode districts.


    • Reduction in carbon emissions: the 2021 Urban Transport Group report found that e-cargo bikes can cut carbon emissions by 90 per cent compared to diesel vans, and 33 per cent when compared to electric vans (for business use). This highlights the potential for cargo bikes to improve air quality in cities and towns, particularly in congested areas by transporting passengers and cargo.
    • More efficient urban transport:  a 2021 Possible report on the benefits on e-cargo bikes in London found e-cargo bikes can deliver goods/cargo 60 per cent faster than vans in city centres. A 2016 Bikeplus Carplus report featuring Outspoken Cycles found in Cambridge and Norwich that e-cargo bike riders were 5.5 per cent quicker compared to car, highlighting the modeshift potential of cargo bikes and their convenience. Cargo bikes are also a more space efficient mode for carrying cargo with the bikes able to take shorter, faster routes through the use of cycle and bus lanes. A 2019 Bicycle Association report found cargo bikes can also be easier to park compared to vans given their shape and size.
    • Reduced costs: in an urban context, e-cargo bikes can be cost efficient for businesses by providing a low carbon freight solution which solves the last mile transport issue. A 2018 Sustrans and Royal Borough of Greenwich e-cargo bike trial for a local butcher shop, found the benefits of the trial included yearly fuel savings of £829 alongside increased fitness levels of staff and faster deliveries.
    • Serve wider demographics: in rural/urban context cargo bikes can be used for transporting goods/shopping as well as children. Bunch Bikes, a U.S e-cargo bike brand found the front-loading design, built in seats and seatbelts allow for a more sustainable and alternative option to transport children and other passengers. E-bike share schemes, like those in Inverness, have started to introduce mixed fleets be used for carrying shopping or transporting children.

    Key considerations

    The following section provides an overview of key considerations for councils. Given similarity in some of the considerations, all three modes (e-scooters, bikes/e-bikes, e-cargo bikes/cargo bikes) have been grouped together. Where there are differences between the modes, those are highlighted.

    It is worth noting that CoMoUK have various guidance documents that can be of help to councils. For example, they have published guidance on starting and running a successful bike share scheme. The guidance is designed to help stakeholders, particularly councils, who would like to introduce shared micromobility schemes. In addition, CoMoUK are due to publish their report on the shared e-scooter trials in England.

    Approach to parking

    Councils need to consider which parking model (physical docking stations, hub-based stations, geofenced and marked parking bays, or free-floating systems) is most appropriate for their area depending on the local characteristics such as scheme demand, local objectives, public realm considerations and funding.

    Councils need to ensure an appropriate density of parking bays for the scheme to become successful. For example, a Nextbike report previously identified that living within 200 metres of a bike share station increases the likelihood of using bike share as the most preferred mode of transport. Similarly, a study by 6-t and Momentum noted that five minutes was the maximum time that is acceptable for users to walk to pick up shared e-scooters.

    Councils also need to consider the location of parking bays. In general, the carriageway is more suitable as any parking provision on the pavement can create access issues for visually and physically impaired individuals. However, when implementing bays on the carriageway, councils need to ensure appropriate TROs are updated.

    Infrastructure provision

    There is growing evidence that lack of cycling infrastructure is one of the largest barriers to shared micromobility uptake.

    • 2020 consulation response by Urban transport Group found access to cycle routes for urban journeys can be limited, and most routes run directly alongside cars which can be a significant barrier to uptake. Councils should consider provision of partially or fully segregated cycling infrastructure to encourage uptake of shared micromobility and improve safety.
    • In some cases, e-scooter users have been reported to use pavements due to not feeling safe whilst riding on the road. In addition, a study by 6t-Research Office found that 85 per cent of e-scooter users favour bicycle lanes.
    • Research by Urban Transport Group highlights that bikes are more likely be used if there is safe supporting infrastructure which is convenient and attractive. Ninety five percent of respondents for a survey conducted for Sustrans mention that road quality is an improvement which should be addressed.
    • Suitable parking for cargo bikes is important factor for councils to consider as they are larger vehicles compared to e-bikes/e-scooters. Although, parking can be quicker for cargo bike users, some users may struggle to park on the road as the space is typically allocated to cars. However, when cargo bikes are parked on the pavement they can be perceived as a nuisance or cause obstructions to pedestrians. Minor adjustments to street layout or infrastructure could facilitate wider uptake in cargo bikes and overcome these issues. Ensuring cycle lanes have adequate width would also facilitate more efficient and safer journeys. 

    There are a variety of factors for a council to consider during procurement of a shared micromobility scheme including but not limited to the following:

    • Objectives of scheme: identify how the scheme will address local objectives, set utilisation targets by groups, sources of funding, density and coverage (number of operators, fleet size and data sharing requirements).
    • Fleet composition and design: councils may wish to consider the vehicle design requirements to ensure they address limiting factors such as gender bias. For example, the design of e-scooters has been reported as a limiting factor, particularly for women who are often likely to be carrying bags. The Dott Gender Gap study recommended that e-scooters could become more stable (wider platforms and larger wheels), have a basket and additional features such as phone holders. The design of e-bikes including their weight and battery range can cause concerns and prevent riders from using e-bikes. 
    • Adapted vehicles: councils should consider whether they would like to introduce a mixed fleet including adapted vehicles. There are a few examples in the U.S. where we have seen inclusion of accessible vehicles in the shared micromobility fleets. However, this is mainly driven by policy/city requirements. For example, the City of Concord, Massachusetts, U.S., has introduced a bike share scheme which also includes adaptive bikes.
    • No-go and slow zones (e-scooters): councils could consider the introduction of no-go and go-slow zones for e-scooters to ensure certain areas cannot be accessed or must be ridden at a slower speed. However, no-go zones should be developed in collaboration between operators and councils as too many no-go zones or slow zones could pose a risk to the usability of the scheme.
    • Tariffs: councils should consider pricing tariffs such as yearly, monthly, weekly and daily packages and reduced costs for low-income groups. Although typically tariffs are designed to incentivise point to point trips, there may be some occasions where short-term rental, long-term rental or leasing of e-scooters/e-bikes/cargo bikes can provide extra benefits (often this can be provided in addition to shared schemes).
    Mobility hubs

    To support shared micromobility, councils could consider development of Mobility Hubs, which provide access to a range of public and shared mobility modes.

    Stakeholder support and scheme programme

    It is important that councils are actively involved in stakeholder consultation and engagement before and after the scheme’s roll out. This is particularly important where schemes involve several tiers of local government or there are neighbouring local authorities. For example, the Transport for London (TfL) Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) form highlights a need for better coordination.

    Another factor for councils to consider is sponsorship of the scheme. There may be an option to reduce operating costs by partnering with a sponsor and it is also an opportunity for councils to utilise the sponsors’ expertise and maximise scheme marketing (Santander in London).


    There are different approaches to funding shared micromobility schemes and the need for funding is generally higher in areas with lower demand. It is important that councils ensure that subsidy or funding provided is proportionate with any demands placed on operators.

    Where local authorities wish to have a high level of control of scheme elements such as pricing, serving all parts of council area equitably and requiring fixed on-street infrastructure, higher levels of public funding will be required.

    Conversely the less public funding or subsidy available, the more operators will wish to have control over the scheme, managing operating costs and maximising revenue to cover costs. Public funding can support greater scheme coverage to areas with higher levels of deprivation and areas underserved by public transport. It can also allow for more attractive tariffs to be introduced making the scheme more affordable to public.

    Shared micromobility operations can be supported by revenue from advertising and sponsorship, for example Santander is a sponsor of the TfL’s Cycle Hire scheme. Councils can also seek funding support through available grants, clean air zone / workplace parking levies and use of S106 developer contributions.

    • E-bikes/bikes: Bike share schemes typically need some form of public funding to cover both operational and capital costs. However, in an event of revenue surplus, it could be shared between the operator and council or re-invested into the scheme (depending on the operational model implemented). When implementing an e-bike share scheme, it is important to consider the higher costs of e-bikes compared to pedal bikes and the need for e-bike charging, while noting that e-bikes tend to attract higher levels of usage, compared to pedal bikes.
    • E-scooters: To date, shared e-scooters have been privately funded in the UK with the e-scooter trials operating under zero value procurement contracts. There was a strong competition between the operators, and they were willing to accept this commercial approach. Nonetheless, given the recent consolidation and financial constraints seen across the micromobility industry from companies such as Bird, Superpedestrian and Voi, caution should be applied in assuming that e-scooters can remain privately funded and pay permit fees for operating in the long-term. If shared e-scooters are more commercially viable than shared bikes, then there is future potential for cross scheme subsidy whereby e-scooter revenue can subsidise bike share schemes. However, e-scooters will need to be legalised before this is a viable long-term option.
    • E-cargo bikes: Existing cargo bikes share schemes in the UK have been implemented with public sector funding support.
    Safety of operations

    Any shared micromobility scheme should be safe by design with safety principles embedded in its operations.

    Operational safety: it is vital than any shared micromobility scheme implemented is safe. Councils should require in any shared micromobility contract that vehicles are regularly maintained to ensure they are safe to operate, in good working order, are adequately charged (for electric micromobility vehicles) and cleaned. Vehicles which are identified as unsafe should be removed and promptly made unavailable to hire.

    User education and training: education and training of users supports uptake of the services and contributes to safer riding and operations of shared e-bikes/bikes, e-scooters and e-cargo/cargo bikes. Training could include but not be limited to workshops, public campaigns or in-app features.

    • E-scooters: many accidents occur on a rider’s first time using a vehicle. Folksaam insurance company estimated that 18-26 per cent of all crashed occured due to errors in handling the e-scooter, which points to the importance of demo days and education of users in a safe environment.
    • E-bikes: the transition from a regular bike to an e-bike can take some adjusting with training being important for certain user groups, eg older population who typically cycle less than younger demographics.
    • E-cargo/cargo bikes: arguably require the greatest degree of training compared to other shared micromobility modes, due to their size and typical lack of existing user experience. Research by the Bicycle Association has highlighted that development and accreditation of a safety training course for cargo bike users could increase their uptake. Councils could introduce cargo bike safety training courses to improve the safety perception of cargo bikes.

    Supporting infrastructure: infrastructure provision is vital for successful shared micromobility uptake. For example, the Dott Gender Gap study highlighted that 39 per cent of women users ranked road safety as one of their top three barriers to e-scooter uptake. Segregated and protected cycle lanes will improve safety for riders and pedestrians and encourage more people, particularly women to use shared micromobility. A 2021 Urban Transport Group report found improvement of cycle routes and prioritising infrastructure where local transport modes are poor and there are high indices of multiple deprivation could encourage greater levels of cycling.

    Councils should also introduce appropriate monitoring and evaluation of shared micromobility schemes to track vehicle safety, appropriate maintenance and collate and analyse data on any collisions.

    Equality and inclusivity

    Shared micromobility vehicles (e-scooters, e-bikes/bikes, e-cargo bikes) can often only be accessed via an app. Not having access to a smartphone and/or a bank account is a factor of social exclusion and represents a barrier to shared micromobility. For non-smartphone options to access e-scooters, some operators offer SMS/text messaging options to rent a vehicle. In the U.S. Lime offers an 'app-less' riding option whereby the user does not need to download the app but can scan the QR code.

    Councils should consider introduction of adaptive vehicles to shared micromobility schemes (e-scooters with a seat or three wheeled adaptive bikes). More generally, councils should consider appropriate EqIA mitigations for all protected characteristics with a shared micromobility scheme.

    Frequently asked questions

    1. Does shared micromobility reduce carbon emissions?

    Due to e-bikes and e-scooters being electric they do not emit any harmful chemicals or emissions at the point of use. At the same time, the methodology for calculating the carbon savings from e-scooters and more generally across all electric transport is still emerging. Some studies consider tailpipe emissions, others include carbon emissions from the electric grid and manufacturing and servicing of micromobility vehicles. The research by Cenex suggests that shared e-scooters reduce CO2 emissions by 45 per cent across all mode’s journeys.

    Similarly, the Solent e-scooter trial has reported that since the trial began in 2020 there has been a total CO2 equivalent saving of 126 tonnes up to January 2022. On average per e-bike share user there is a reduction of about 2.3 car miles and 1kg of CO2 emissions every week. With e-cargo bikes it has been reported that they can cut carbon emissions by 90 per cent compared to diesel vans, and 33 per cent when compared to electric vans (for business use).

    2. How does shared micromobility encourage modeshift?

    Shared micromobility is a flexible, affordable and on-demand transport option which provides a sustainable and convenient alternative transport mode to a private car or van.

    A survey conducted as part of the shared e-scooter trial in Birmingham found that 31 per cent of respondents would have used a car had e-scooters not been available (2021). The results from the Solent shared e-scooter trial revealed that 283,000 car and taxi trips were replaced by e-scooter trips promoting modeshift. The EU funded ‘Pro-e-Bike’ project also noted that 69 per cent of car trips have the potential to be replaced by e-bike/cargo bikes indicating the underlying potential for modeshift.

    3. Are e-scooters safe?

    The relative safety of e-scooters is difficult to examine in the UK due to a lack of consistent data. The anticipated monitoring and evaluation study by the DfT on e-scooter trials should provide more insight on this.

    The national safety dataset ‘STATS19’ did not, until recently, identify e-scooters as one of its designated vehicle types. Even upon inclusion of e-scooters in the STATS19 data there are limitations, as is it not able to distinguish between private or shared e-scooters and DfT acknowledge that the quality of this data should be improved. Councils should, therefore, seek to introduce appropriate monitoring and evaluation of any shared micromobility scheme they implement.

    Despite the lack of comparable data, there are emerging studies, such as the research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), finding e-scooters safer than many other transport modes, with lower casualty rates (0.66 collisions per million miles travelled) compared to motorbikes which were higher (5.88 collisions per million miles travelled). Since the London e-scooter trial launched in 2021 there have been 21 serious incidents involving e-scooters (out of 1.9 million journeys). Serious incidents refer to personal injury collisions (alternatively, accidents) on public roads which become known to the police within 30 days.

    4. Is it legal to ride a scooter in the UK?

    Under UK law, it is effectively illegal to ride an e-scooter (or any powered transporter) on public roads (it is legal to ride e-scooters on private roads). However, rental e-scooters are legal under the DfT e-scooter trials in participating locations. Future regulation is anticipated for e-scooters as part of the proposed Transport Bill as announced in May 2022.  

    5. How does shared micromobility support local transport policy?

    Shared micromobility can support sustainability and help meet local goals supporting air quality improvement and reduction of congestion. In addition, micromobility provides a convenient, flexible and on-demand accessible transport option.

    Shared micromobility can support first and last mile trips, potentially linking areas with poor public transport accessibility to public transport hubs. For example, in the Salford e-scooter trial, the research by the University of Salford found that 38 per cent of users had taken an e-scooter to connect with some form of public transport.

    6. What shared micromobility operating models are available?

    There are several different types of shared micromobility operating models including:

    • publicly owned and operated
    • publicly owned and privately operated (operations may be subsidised by the transport authority)
    • privately owned and operated where a licence/permission to operate is granted by the relevant authority (combined, local or transport) to one or more private operators who provide and operate vehicles at their own cost but are typically closely monitored by the transport authority (eg shared e-scooter rental trial in London).


    In this context, publicly owned refers to a council or transport authority.


    7. What shared micromobility parking models are available?

    Parking models can be categorised as either station based or free floating.

    Station based models include:

    • physical docking stations (micromobility vehicles are parked in fixed docking stations) hub-based stations (micromobility vehicles must be parked in physical racks in parking locations)
    • free floating systems allow for micromobility vehicles to be parked anywhere within the operating area
    • geofenced and marked barking bays (micromobility vehicles must be parked in designated parking bay at the end of their trip).


    8. How does insurance work with shared e-scooters?

    Shared e-scooter operators will normally have Third Party Motor Vehicle Insurance. For example, if an e-scooter rider runs into a car and is at fault, the car driver can claim off the e-scooter company insurance. Typically, around £5 million is the accepted value that the insurance goes up to. Some shared e-scooter operators offer personal injury insurance for riders.

    9. Do shared micromobility schemes work in rural settings?

    Shared micromobility is most commercially viable in areas of higher population density and a mix of trip destinations including employment, retail, and leisure. Whilst shared micromobility schemes are more likely to require less subsidy in urban settings given the greater population density, rural shared micromobility schemes can still be implemented. Councils could consider cross-location subsidy, whereby, a more utilised urban scheme helps subsidise expansion in rural and semi-urban areas.

    Councils may need to consider adapting a scheme in a rural setting to meet the local needs: for example, a choice of vehicles and introduction of different pricing models. Given the potential for longer journeys in rural areas, e-bikes are likely to be more applicable than conventional pedal bikes. In a similar vein, pricing should reflect the need for longer journeys and, therefore, councils may wish to introduce longer term rental options (like one day, one week or one month tariffs). A community bike share scheme (typically bikes being hired and loaned out from a community building for residents and visitors) could also be introduced in rural areas (the guidance is developed by CoMoUK).