Bird launches electric scooter pilot in London as part of ongoing European drive

One of Bird’s electric scooters in London’s Olympic Park.

Electric scooter hire company Bird is dipping a first toe into the murky waters of London as part of an ongoing expansion into Europe. The company is launching its hire vehicles on a single route in the city’s Olympic Park — the only way to get around a longstanding legal ban of electric scooters on London’s roads.

Since the scooter boom first took off, Londoners have been wondering when the vehicles would arrive in the UK’s capital. But as became clear this summer, the answer may be never. Under the Highway Act of 1835, the UK government defines electric scooters as “powered transporters,” a class of vehicle that can only legally be used on private property. (The same ban also covers two-wheeled hoverboards.)

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