Londoners, or anyone who’s followed the scooter wars closely, are probably scratching their heads, because yes, e-scooters are illegal on British roads and sidewalks due to ancient English legislation. Under the Highway Act of 1835, the U.K.’s Department for Transport (DfT) has classified e-scooters as “powered transporters,” a type of vehicle only permitted for use on private property.
To its credit, Bird seems to have found a loophole. It will only operate the scooters on private land — Olympic Park — and if riders deviate from the route or onto public land, the GPS-tracked scooters will power down.
Santa Monica-based Bird has reportedly been sparring with the DfT since last year amid attempts to enter the London market. It’s unclear how or if they’ll be able to launch in other parts of the city following this pilot or if the DfT is considering changes to its nearly 200-year-old law; we’ve reached out to Bird for further explanation.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
This is the kind of move I would have expected out of Lime. Still, good for Bird.