Throughout much of the early and mid-2000s, scooters were the ultimate craze.

It felt like every child on the street had one – and if they didn’t, you could be certain it was on their birthday or Christmas wish list.

The shiny aluminium frame, the multi-coloured wheels, the endless potential for tricks, twists, and flips – this seemingly new mode of transport appeared to tick all the boxes.

It was convenient and light-weight. Above all else, it was considered “cool” – THE way for kids to get around. The scooter had quite literally reinvented the wheel.

But, as with all fads, the rage around scooters soon faded. From five million scooters being sold in the first six months of 2000, sales by the late noughties had declined.

By about 2010, it felt as if scooters were more likely to be seen in dusty garages or going for a tenner at the local jumble sale.

Fast-forward to 2021, and scooters are making a comeback – in e-form. They have rebranded themselves as the slick, efficient, and functional way of getting around our towns and cities.

Cheaper than a bike, more eco-friendly than the bus, and faster than going by foot, the e-scooter is no longer a fad for children at the local skatepark – far from it, in fact.

Echo: How the e-scooter craze is sweeping across streets of ColchesterHow the e-scooter craze is sweeping across streets of Colchester

By law, anyone over the age of 18 wishing to hire an e-scooter has to provide their phone number, email address and a photograph of their driving licence to prove their identity – and then take a selfie to match to their driving licence.

Costs are normally about £1 to unlock, and then a further 20p per minute to use.

This is all being implemented by Spin, a scooter-sharing company owned by the car manufacturer Ford.

Trials are being run in Chelmsford, Basildon and Colchester to find the best way of introducing them to the UK.

But is the idea of the e-scooter going to take off? Are they as efficient, safe and pioneering as they are made out to be?

According to Steve Pyer, the Spin UK country manager, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

“This is the first new motor vehicle that’s been allowed on the UK’s roads for decades,” Mr Pyer said.

As the e-scooter trial is in its early stages, collecting as much information about users’ experience as possible is vital.

“We’re trying to get as much demographic data on e-scooters as possible – how people feel using them, and what we need to do to improve them in the future.

"We send regular surveys out to our riders, and we have meetings in all the individual towns and cities involved,” he added.

Some of the data collected, for example, shows the total number of e-scooter rides that have been undertaken since February sits at 27,484 in Colchester alone.

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Particularly popular areas to ride an e-scooter are in St Botolph’s Street, Head Street and the High Street, with the total number of rides in Essex sitting at well over 100,000.

These numbers all come across as pretty impressive and the safety features surrounding Spin e-scooters all sound very sensible. But as e-scooters are available for anyone to buy and sell, couldn’t someone just buy their own e-scooter to ride around Colchester, rather than use one offered by Spin?

The answer, put simply, is no. Although private scooters can be bought legally, they cannot be used on public roads or cycle lanes. Anybody who wishes to ride an e-scooter in public can only use the vehicles that are provided by Spin.

Nor can anyone simply jump on an e-scooter at the click of a button or a swipe of a debit card.

“New riders must also view a comprehensive set of rules and instructions and complete a safety test before they can take their first ride,” Mr Pyer says.

The service is only available to adults who have a valid full or provisional driving licence and who have registered on the Spin App, so riders are covered by insurance. If someone else other than the account holder is riding the E-Scooter it will essentially be uninsured.


Perhaps one issue that has been documented about the e-scooter more than any other is its use by gangs to evade police. There are worries they are almost too quick, too easy to use, and too reliable, leading to drug gangs exploiting the benefits e-scooters offer.

Mr Pyer assures me that this has already been considered.

“Our scooters are GPS tracked,” he explains.

“Whenever you rent one and sign up to the app, you need to provide your phone number, email address, and all the security info.

“I have heard about e-scooters are being used by criminals, but if anyone wants to use one to commit a crime, then we can find out who they are and exactly where they are every three seconds during their journey.

“The police can access that information if they request it formally. So I think the chances of people using it for crimes are quite low.”

With the trials taking place in Colchester and across Essex proving to be successful, the e-scooter looks as if it will be far more than a mere trend.

With the Department for Transport continuing to collect data and evidence in order to introduce e-scooters more widely throughout the UK, it looks as if this low-cost, low-carbon alternative to traditional forms of transport is here to stay.