Highland Council has committed to looking into the issues around using electric scooters in Highland towns.
Currently, using e.scooters in public places is illegal in the UK, incurring a fine up £300.
A group of Lib Dem councillors raised a motion at yesterday’s full council meeting asking the council to engage with the Scottish Government to allow electric scooters and regulate their use.
Councillor Trish Robertson said electric vehicles in all their forms would become more and more popular under the climate emergency.
She pointed to the popularity of bicycles and e.scooters abroad, and said they were already being used in this country, with police reporting 1600 incidents involving e.scooters, hover boards and segues in the past year.
She said it was time to change the law and regulate them.
“To leave consideration of how they can be used legally and safely until they are common on our streets is to leave things too long,” she said.
Opposition councillors hastened to point out to Mrs Robertson that matters involving such transport were the domain of Westminster, not of the Scottish Government.
Councillor Ron MacWilliam, chairman of the community planning transport group, presented an amendment, asking instead that council officers bring an exploratory paper on electric mobility in Highland to the council’s environment committee.
His amendment won the day by 32 votes to 23, with six abstentions.
Mr MacWilliam said afterwards: “I agree that electric propulsion will be necessary for mobility in future and indeed I travelled to the council today on my own e-bike.
“The council’s climate change panel will need to engage with all ideas on carbon-free transport so I welcome that colleagues across the chamber have today agreed with me to take an evidenced approach to understanding the viability of electric scooter use.
“Electric scooters are also being actively marketed by the manufacturers and it is likely that they will come in to use regardless of what the law currently says.
“It is sensible for the council to seek to understand the various issues before they become a problem, and to examine whether that problem should be discouraged or incorporated in to our agenda for transport solutions.”