The number of rentable electric scooters in Norwich is to double - and the vehicles will also be made available in other parts of Norfolk.

E-scooters arrived in Norwich in September 2020, with Norfolk County Council joining forces with Beryl, which also provides bicycles and e-bikes, to provide them for hire.

Norwich was one of more than 30 cities taking part in an initial 12-month government trial to to assess the safety of e-scooters and their wider impacts.

Eastern Daily Press: The Beryl e-scooter scheme trial is to be extended and expanded.The Beryl e-scooter scheme trial is to be extended and expanded. (Image: Archant)

That trial has already been extended once and was due to conclude at the end of this month.

But the Department for Transport has said schemes can be extended until November and Norfolk County Council has decided to do so.

It is also proposed to increase the size of the e-scooter fleet in Norwich from 250 to 500 scooters.

That would happen in phases, with no more than 100 e-scooters added at a time and safety reviews carried out to make sure there is no proportionate increase in accidents.

And e-scooters and bicycles will, for the first time, be available to rent in Wymondham, Hethersett and Norwich.

That will start this spring, with council officers saying it will help collect more extensive data for the Department for Transport.

Figures released before Christmas showed there were nine reported casualties in accidents involving e-scooters in the year to June 2021.

That was lower than many similar counties, despite the e-scooter trial.

The council says there is now "extra messaging" to warn
e-scooter users not to ride on footpaths or to carry passengers.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said there had been more than 150,000 journeys made on e-scooters since the trial began.

He said: “We know that many of these journeys would otherwise have been made by car, so, used in a controlled and responsible way the potential to reduce congestion on our roads and improve air quality is massive.

“This proposal will allow us to extend the size and scope of the trial, meaning we can increase those benefits, utilising new and improved off carriageway routes between Wymondham and Norwich and on Marriott's Way, as well as gathering further data to inform central government."

A separate e-scooter trial, operated by Ginger, has been running in Great Yarmouth and is due to be extended.

Eastern Daily Press: Labour councillor Tony WrightLabour councillor Tony Wright (Image: Archant)