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Want to try electric scooters legally? London trials have extended to October

Bird electric scooter
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Electric scooters are illegal to ride on public streets and pavements in the UK, but American company Bird has extended a trial in London's Olympic Park until the end of the summer. The test program was originally scheduled to end in June, but has now been extended until the end of September.

If you fancy taking a scooter for a spin, you'll need to stop by the Olympic Park dock after 7am and unlock one of the 50 scooters using the Bird app. Once you've got the hang of riding, you have have fun cruising the footpaths. Just make sure you return your ride for charging by 9pm, and don't stray outside the park or the power will cut out.

Olympic Park is private land, which means it's legal to ride electric scooters there, and there are a few areas like it around London, but Olympic Park is among the biggest.

Other UK cities might launch similar trials of their own in the coming months, but it looks unlikely that scooters will be street-legal any time soon. Newly appointed transport secretary Grant Shapps only took his post on July 24, and with the House of Commons now in recess, any change in the law won't happen until September – when Brexit will be top of everyone's agenda.

Stay safe

Any changes to the law are likely to be further delayed by two serious accidents in London, which highlighted the dangers of riding on public roads. On July 12, a woman riding an electric scooter was fatally injured when she was hit by a truck at a roundabout, and two days later a 14-year-old boy suffered a serious head injury when he crashed into a bus stop.

"Safety is at the heart of all our road laws and it is important that retailers continue to remind people at the point of sale that it is illegal to ride e-scooters on public roads," said a spokesperson for the Department for Transport.

If you do decide to check out the scooters at Olympic Park, always be aware of your surroundings and ride carefully.