E-scooters are becoming increasingly prevalent on London's streets even though they are technically outlawed in public places in the UK at present.

That rule is set to change (for some parts of the city at least) thanks a new e-scooter rental scheme launched in Richmond Monday (June 7).

The trial will see Transport for London (TfL) provide scooters in the borough for people to use over the next twelve months.

Authorities said the trial, which is being implemented in several other London boroughs besides, will examine the safety and viability of e-scooters as an effective and clean solution to London's escalating problems related to air quality and the dangers of pollution.

E-scooters are considered motor vehicles and all users will need to be 18+ years old and have at least a provisional driving licence to use them during the trial period.

Only the vehicles provided by TfL during the trial will be legally usable during the scheme, with a maxmimum speed limited to 12.5 mph.

TfL confirmed they would cost between £3.25 and £3.40 for a 15-minute ride and would only be allowed on roads, while remaining banned on pavements.

Mayor Philip Glanville, who chairs London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said:

"The rental e-scooter trial has the potential to support our city-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic and boost London’s green recovery.

"It will be important to see how this new service impacts London’s existing transport network and carbon emissions and how inclusive it is of the travel needs of all Londoners – especially those on lower incomes."

Helen Sharp, TfL's e-scooter trial lead, also emphasized safety as the scheme, which is expected to arrive in other boroughs in the future, was launched on Monday.

"Safety remains our number one priority for this trial and we will work closely with the e-scooter operators, London Councils and the boroughs to ensure rigorous standards are consistently met," she said.

"We will also continue to work closely with all of our stakeholders, including TfL's Independent Disability Advisory Group, to ensure that the trial meets the needs of everybody living in, working in and visiting the trial areas."

Ricmond Council's Alexander Ehmann meanwhile cited the worsening climate emergency as key factor behind the council's endorsement of the trial.

"Our health and the climate are at risk from the huge amounts of pollution caused by vehicles in London," he said.

"It’s vital that we explore less-polluting modes of transport and TfL’s e-scooter trial is the perfect opportunity to do this.

"The trial will allow TfL to better understand how e-scooters can be used safely in London. Residents can rest assured that the Council will monitor the trial closely and will take action if any issues do arise."

Click here for more information on the trial in Richmond and where you can find the rental e-scooters.