THE trial period for e-scooters in Bournemouth and Poole has been extended until next year.

The Department for Transport has confirmed that the trial will continue beyond its original end date of November 2021 until March 2022.

The e-scooter scheme is being delivered by Beryl, which also operates cycle hire across the BCP Council area.

The latest figures show that thousands of residents and visitors have engaged with the scheme, which the council says has in turn had a positive impact on the reduction of car travel.

A BCP Council spokesperson said: “In terms of the BCP Council area trial, 44,700 individual riders have taken 153,000 e-scooter journeys and covered nearly 400,000 miles (643,023kms).

“One of the aims of the trial is to see if e-scooters will help reduce private car usage. The ‘end of ride’ Beryl app survey results show that 19 per cent of riders said their journey would otherwise have been taken in a private car.

“This means that potentially 29,070 car journeys have been saved during the trial, which is very encouraging.”

However, the increasing use of e-scooters has sparked safety concerns surrounding their improper use. During the Air Festival weekend a four-year-old child was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured collarbone following an incident involving an e-scooter hired from Beryl.

A DfT spokesperson said: “Safety will always be our top priority and the trials currently taking place in 32 regions across England are allowing us to better understand the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space."

Last month Dorset Police issued a statement regarding the number of private e-scooters (40) that had been stopped and riders spoken with before being issued with warnings. In addition, riders on the hired Beryl e-scooters had also been stopped due to improper use, including riding on pavements.

Sergeant Rhys Griffiths, of the traffic unit for Dorset Police, said: “We continue to urge those using e-scooters as part of the Beryl hire scheme to ride them in a safe and responsible manner.

“Officers will continue to engage with the public to explain the rules around e-scooters and the dangers they pose to pedestrians and other users. They will take further action where appropriate including the seizure and disposal of e-scooters through powers available under the Road Traffic Act.”

Beryl CEO, Phil Ellis said: "Beryl's e-scooter scheme in Bournemouth and Poole was the first of its kind to be introduced to the South East of the UK. The scheme has been welcomed as a safe, trusted, affordable and environmentally friendly mode of transport for the local community. We know this because our data tells us. Our 44,000+ e-scooter riders have completed over 153,000 journeys covering over 630,000km since launch. Over the last six months, 19% of riders tell us that the scooter journey has replaced a trip in the car."