Newcastle talking e-scooter trial delayed by snow

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A woman pictured on one of the orange e-scooters on Newcastle Quayside with the Tyne Bridge and Sage music centre behind her.Image source, Neuron
Image caption,
Each vehicle is fitted with "topple detection" so Neuron staff know if a scooter has been dumped on its side

The start of an electric scooter hire scheme in Newcastle has been delayed by 24 hours due to "lingering snow and ice".

An initial 250 of the orange Neuron vehicles were set to be available to pick up from parking areas in the city including Jesmond, and Gosforth. 

The scooters will give voice safety instructions.

Operator Neuron and Newcastle City Council said they wanted any remaining snow and ice to "thaw" before launch.

Each machine is fitted with "topple detection" so Neuron staff know if a scooter has been dumped on its side.

Single trips will cost £1 to unlock the e-scooter and 18p per minute after that, paid via an app, Neuron said.

Riders must be at least 18 years old and hold a full or provisional driving licence.

Neuron and the council said the launch was being delayed till Tuesday to "ensure those using our e-scooters for the first time in Newcastle this week have a safe and enjoyable experience".

Image source, Neuron
Image caption,
The scooter will "just stop" if a user ends up in a "no-go zone"

Newcastle City Council said cutting carbon emissions was an "urgent priority" and it wants to encourage people out of their cars.

The UK's first trial of e-scooter hire began on Teesside in July but concerns about their safety were raised when two teenagers were caught riding them on the A19.

In 2019 a bicycle hire scheme in Newcastle and Gateshead, run by Mobike, had to be scrapped after a number were set on fire, abandoned or thrown into the River Tyne.

Teddy Howard, city operations manager for Neuron, said: "The scooter will talk to you if you are heading towards a no-go zone and advise you to turn back. If you don't turn back it will just stop."

Only one person is allowed per scooter, which can travel up to 15 mph.

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