Behold: the new Voi number plate

I see you baby: rear-mounted ID tags arrive on shared electric scooters.

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Photography by

Richard Corbett

Voi e-scooters in Britain are sporting a new look: number plates.

The company’s UK boss showed off a snapshot of the controversial addition on Twitter (and shared the photo with Zag):

Corbett went on to explain that the simple alphanumeric format (one letter, three numbers) would be easy to spot and report.

Number plates were deemed necessary to avoid derailing the phenomenally popular West Midlands scheme, after Coventry council took fright at media reports and paused its trial. In Birmingham, Voi has reduced operating hours and available e-scooters as it navigates a nimby backlash.

Number plates are intended to help members of the public and the police to more easily report incidents such as sloppy parking or inconsiderate riding. This is coupled with a £300 fine and six penalty points if riders are caught behaving badly.

Meanwhile, in Northampton, another place enjoying an e-scooter pilot courtesy of Voi, the county council has been making welcome use of its communications channels to help educate its citizens on using e-scooters responsibly.

As some replies to the Tweet attest, however, changing the behaviour of drivers is a much tougher job.

Other industry players remain are wary of Voi’s new measures, fearing that number plates risk tarring scooters with the same brush as motor vehicles in the minds of the public and policy-makers alike.

But there can be no doubt that the micromobility operator is taking every measure available to secure the future of the mammoth West Midlands trial. When this storm-in-a-teacup blows over, authorities will remember the collaborative, flexible and agile nature of electric scooter companies. Our cities are better for them.

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Photography by

Richard Corbett