Newry.ie

E-Scooters have been around for several years now throughout the world, but it's only recently they have appeared in Newry City.

Local business E-Scooter Ireland based in WIN Business Park are trying to propel the E-Scooter revolution locally, with Newry woman Orlagh Quinn starting up the business a few weeks ago.

Orlagh Quinn, E-Scooter Ireland. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Orlagh Quinn, E-Scooter Ireland. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

E-Scooter Ireland is a sister company of The Hive Drone Store run by Orlagh's partner, James Whorriskey. Explaining the idea behind the business Orlagh said "We've branched off because of the whole Covid thing. We are trying to give people something different, that's fun, safe and outdoors. We seen all these other cities bringing them in, and Newry just doesn't have anything like that."

Newry.ie kindly got a loan of one of their scooters last weekend to test. First impression was its ease of use. Push the button on, start the scooter moving and press the accelerator dial and away you go. The scooter zips along briskly and the handlebar brake very quickly brings it to a halt when necessary. The scooter quickly speeds up to its top speed - a sedate 15mph. It has three power settings normal, speed and eco although you won't see major major differences in any of them. Hills are quickly passed without a flinch although when power is down to the last few percent the scooter noticebly slows, but a full charge would sort that. A full charge will do for around 20 miles but there is the potential for taking a spare battery with you.

Sedate to the last - Newry.ie glide through Linenhall Square. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Sedate to the last! - Gliding through Linenhall Square. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

The company both hire and sell the E-Scooters. You can hire by the hour, day or longer. To hire all you have to do is use their online booking system or ring them. An hour costs £10 for Standard/ £12.50 for pro scooter while a day is £45. They have regular special offers with a weekend rate recently costing £55. Hire costs include the all important insurance. The E-Scooters can also be purchased, costing from £449 and safety gear can also be provided. They have three different types of Scooters: Xiaomi Standard, Xiaomi Pro and the Kaiser Bass with a changeable battery.

Orlagh sees them helping to cut down on polution "They are not as big, more room, less emissions, more viable, just collect it and go rather than loads of cars driving around."

Scooter on the move.

Basically the people that came up with the E-Scooter concept started with a car and stripped away everything that was non essential, leaving just two wheels, a battery for power, a way to stop and a place to take your feet off the ground. While fun is the word that comes to mind functional is also foremost. I could see myself going down to my office in Newry city centre complete with pinstriped suit and briefcase, getting off the scooter, folding it up and taking it in the door. No need for a car park space and perfect for carrying a bag of shopping home with you. Of course a rainy day may be more challenging but people do walk and cycle in the rain so no difference really.

Orlagh Quinn with one of their E-Scooters. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Orlagh Quinn with one of their E-Scooters. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Just imaging if even just on dry days 100 people left their cars at home and 'scooted' into town. What a difference that would make to traffic jams and air pollution. Sadly and reluctantly though we had to give it back so the bicycle is back out again!

For Bicycles, E-Bikes and E-Scooters to increase in popularity in Newry and other areas several things need to come together. Legislation needs to allow for their use and cycle infrastructure need to be expanded at breakneck speed. The lack of any joined up cycle structure in Newry City is quite literally shocking.

Up until a few weeks ago E-Bikes weren't legal on NI roads but that didn't stop their use and increase in popularity. E-Scooters are presently not allowed on roads here but you can hire them in England, Scotland and Wales and use them legally on the roads there at present thanks to the Department for Transport so it most likely will only be a matter of time. In a query from Newry.ie the Department for Infrastructure said "The Department is monitoring the DfT pilot schemes and once the analysis of the GB consultation and pilot scheme is available, the Minister has confirmed she will carefully consider both to help inform her thinking about the potential use of e-scooters here.”

E-Bike Ireland are already looking into expanding into e-bikes and they also are looking at apps which you could use at different points throughout Newry to pick up your E-Scooter and leave them back. They also see themselves growing and expanding into other areas.

Check them out or book your 'scoot' at WWW.E-SCOOTERIRELAND.CO.UK check out their Facebook for offers or ring them on 028 3025 2300

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