You can rent e-scooters in London's Olympic Park from today

Bored of your bike? From today, you can rent an electric scooter from electric vehicle sharing startup Bird to whizz around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. 

It works via an app, which allows you to unlock nearby scooters, and shows you how to ride on them safely. The e-scooters cost £1 to unlock, with every minute thereafter costing 20p - although the company is offering £5 off your first ride with the promo code BIRDLONDON.

You'll be able to use the e-scooters between the hours of 7am and 9pm, and only on a pre-approved route from the Bird offices to Westfield Stratford City - this is due to antiquated legislation that makes it illegal in the UK to ride e-scooters on pavements or roads. 

The Highway Act of 1835 means that any "powered transporters" like an e-scooter, can only be used on private land - which is why Bird has chosen to launch its pilot scheme on the private land of the Olympic Park.

Hello London! #befreewithbird Bird

A photo posted by @bird on Nov 5, 2018 at 9:13pm PST

Smart scooter

How can Bird stop users from deviating from its pre-approved path? Well, if you leave the route or drive onto public land, the e-scooter will automatically power down thanks to GPS tracking. 

Still, Bird's ultimate goal is to reduce congestion in cities, and to do that it will need the Department for Transport to change the nearly 200 year-old law - which so far, it has been unwilling to do. 

Whether British lawmakers will take notice of the possible benefits of e-scooter use in cities, like easing congestion, improving air quality, and reducing traffic, remains to be seen.

Other cities, including Washington D.C, Nashville, Vienna, and Tel Aviv, seem to have been more welcoming to the rapidly growing startup, with Bird announcing 10 billion e-scooter rides since its launch in 2017.

Via TechCrunch

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.