Rules, prices and safety measures revealed for Sunderland e-scooter trial ahead of launch

A trial of new electric scooters is set to launch in Sunderland this week.
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The first of 300 distinctive orange e-scooters will be deployed across the city from Wednesday, March 31.

The 12-month trial will be operated by Neuron Mobility in partnership with Sunderland City Council and provides ‘safe, socially-distanced and environmentally-friendly transport’ they say.

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Neuron is providing free monthly passes to NHS and Emergency Services staff, redeemable through its app, and will also offer free rides for commuters between 5am and 9am every weekday for the first three months.

The trial starts on WednesdayThe trial starts on Wednesday
The trial starts on Wednesday

When will the scooters be available?

The e-scooters will be operational between 5am and 11pm.

Outside those hours, they will be deactivated remotely.

Who can use them and how much will it cost?

The app unlocks the scooter's helmetThe app unlocks the scooter's helmet
The app unlocks the scooter's helmet

Riders who are over 18 and hold a full or provisional driving licence are able to book and use the e-scooters through Neuron’s app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Single trips will cost £1 to unlock the e-scooter and 20 pence per minute after that.

Users have the option to purchase Neuron Passes, a subscription service, available in three-day (£15), weekly (£22), or monthly (£36) options.

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The packages will allow users to ride as many times as they want for up to 90 minutes per day with no additional unlocking fees.

The scooters have a number of hi-tech featuresThe scooters have a number of hi-tech features
The scooters have a number of hi-tech features

What are the rules of riding?

- No riding on pavements.

- Helmets are not mandatory but use is strongly recommended. The scooters feature an app-controlled Helmet Lock, which secures a safety helmet to the vehicle and electronically releases it to use at the start of the booking.

- One rider per e-scooter.

- Keep a safe distance from pedestrians.

- Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

- Be aware of your surroundings and remove earphones.

- Keep both hands on the handlebars.

- Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles particularly when turning.

- Park responsibly and don't cause an obstruction.

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Failure to adhere to the rules may result in prosecution as well as points on, or a loss of a rider’s driving licence altogether.

Anyone who sees any rider breaking these rules should report the exact time, location and licence plate number to Neuron’s 24/7 customer service centre on 0191 743 0074, or e-mail [email protected].

Are they safe? What safety measures are in place?

City council leader Coun Graeme Miller said that the council will monitor the trial and said: “All the e-scooters have hi-tech built-in safety features, all the equipment is cleaned and disinfected, and over the coming months we’ll see how this trial progresses and develops.”

Safety measures include:

- A dedicated safety team as part of the trial who will disinfectant scooters and helmets. The team will also be talking to users to give tips for safe riding.

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- The e-scooters are GPS-enabled and Neuron and Sunderland City Council will use Geofencing technology to control where they are ridden and parked, and how fast they can travel in certain areas by creating slow zones, no-ride zones and no-parking zones.

- The scooter have voice guidance to warn people how to travel safely.

- Riders can share their location with friends and family using a “Follow My Ride” feature.

- A 999 emergency button which can tell if someone has had a fall, then help them call the emergency services is installed on all scooters.

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Each vehicle will be fitted with a unique license plate for easy identification and incidents can be reported to Neuron’s 24/7 customer service centre on 0191 743 0074, or e-mail [email protected].

Where will the scooters be?

Locations have yet to be revealed but Neuron CEO Zachary Wang said: "Our e-scooters will be able to provide a first and last mile alternative to those wishing to travel between Newcastle and Sunderland as they will be available at both ends of the Tyne & Wear Metro.”

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