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Norwich’s new e-scooters everything you need to know

PUBLISHED: 16:22 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:04 21 September 2020

Norwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture shows one of the docks. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLME

Norwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture shows one of the docks. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLME

Archant

Beryl has launched a new e-scooter hire scheme in Norwich, meaning for a small fee those with a driving licence can zip through the city streets in a whole new way.

Norwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLMENorwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLME

How does it work?

Anyone who has previously hired a Beryl bike or e-bike will already have the mobile app on their phone, if not you’ll need to download it.

The rental process for e-scooters works in much the same way as the Beryl bikes and e-bikes, however you can only hire an e-scooter if you have a valid UK driving licence and you must upload a photo of it to the app before you can unlock an e-scooter.

Norwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture shows one of the docks. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLMENorwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture shows one of the docks. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLME

Cost

It costs £1.50 to unlock an e-scooter and 10p a minute thereafter. There are options to ‘pay as you ride’ or purchase minute bundles ranging in price from 100 minutes for £5, 200 minutes for £10 or 300 minutes for £15. If you park an e-scooter outside of a Beryl Bay you’ll be charged a £5 convenience fee, or £10 if you lock one outside the Norwich operating zone.

Compared to the Beryl’s other offerings the cost of hiring out an e-scooter is similar to the e-bikes.

Norwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLMENorwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLME

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Ease of use

They’re fairly easy to get going, all you need to do is push off from the ground and use a lever on the right handlebar to control the speed.

All the e-scooters are capped at 12.5mph and there’s a speedometer on the front of the scooter to let you know how fast you’re going. Brakes are the same as a bicycle and on the left handlebar there is a bell to alert pedestrians and others to your presence.

Norwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture shows Sabrina Johnson, EDP journalist trialling the scooter. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLMENorwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture shows Sabrina Johnson, EDP journalist trialling the scooter. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLME

It takes a little bit of getting used to how hard to push off from the ground, how to control the speed, and turning but all in all the e-scooters are very straight forward and easy to use.

How safe does it feel?

Safety is a big concern with e-scooters, not just for those using them but also other road users and pedestrians. The reason the government is trailing them is to see how safe they are. I’m used to cycling on Norwich’s roads so I have a fairly good road sense. However, I did have concerns about feeling slightly more vulnerable on an e-scooter than a bike. Taking one for a ride in the city centre on a Monday morning, the roads were quiet but I did feel safe. The scooters themselves were able to handle bumps in the road and felt very stable.

Norwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture shows Sabrina Johnson, EDP journalist, Philip Ellis, Co-founder and CEO and Georgia Yexley, Head of Growth at Beryl. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLMENorwich have been selected to trial the Beryl e-scooters. Picture shows Sabrina Johnson, EDP journalist, Philip Ellis, Co-founder and CEO and Georgia Yexley, Head of Growth at Beryl. Picture: KATE WOLSTENHOLME

Final verdict

Although I am someone who thinks e-scooters look slightly ridiculous I came to electric scooters with an open mind and, after seeing how tall they stand next to a normal bike, a certain amount of trepidation.

However, after taking one for a spin around the city centre, they are undeniably fun and easy to use. After a few minutes to get used to how to them, on Norwich’s relatively quiet streets they feel safe and I can see them becoming popular.


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