Neuron Mobility e-scooter hire in Newcastle (2023)

With Neuron’s bright orange e-scooters available to hire in Newcastle, the company’s UK Expansion Manager George Symes explains more about how residents can use them, where they can be ridden and what steps the company is taking to make sure they are used safely and responsibly.

Q: What are you doing to keep riders and the public safe?
Safety is Neuron’s top priority. We build our own e-scooters from scratch specifically for renting and for safety. We’re proud to be the industry safety leader and have developed a whole range of ‘world firsts’ and pioneering features to keep our riders as safe as possible.
Every Neuron e-scooter has an integrated helmet that’s electronically released at the start of the journey. A helmet is the single most important piece of safety equipment and, though it is not law to wear one in the UK, every rider should protect themselves.
Our e-scooters also have topple detection, this detects if one has been left on its side, and then alerts our operations team to reposition it safely. There is a 999 emergency button which can tell if someone has had a fall and then helps the rider call the emergency services. Our e-scooters also have voice guidance which gives reminders and instructions on how to ride safely.
We also have a “Follow my Ride” function, which allows the rider’s friends and family to track their e-scooter trip in real time - it gives them extra peace of mind.
To underline our commitment to safety in the UK, we recently launched a new partnership with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Britain’s leading safety charity, and have partnered with them to create a brand new e-scooter safety course and set of guidelines for riders. We also have a Newcastle-specific quiz for riders which highlights the rules and top safety guidelines.

Q: How do you stop people from speeding on your e-scooters or going into areas they are not supposed to?
Our e-scooters are GPS-connected and also controlled by geofencing. Using this technology we’ve set a riding area. When they cross the boundary the e-scooter loses power and it doesn’t work again until it’s back inside the riding area. Using this technology we have also created no-ride zones, like Northumberland Street for example, and we’ve set go-slow zones in other areas where the speed is limited to 10 mph.
Our e-scooters have two gears and are limited to top speed of 15mph. They start off on a lower speed setting of under 10mph which is very useful for new riders who may not be as confident as people who are more experienced.

Q: How do you deal with riders who don’t follow the rules?
All of our riders sign up to a comprehensive list of riding rules before they are allowed to take their first trip. These highlight that they need to be over 18, have a driving licence, and that only one person is allowed on an e-scooter at a time. The rules are clear when it comes to not riding under the influence of alcohol or other substances, and of course they get guidance on where and how to park and ride. All this information appears in the app that riders see at the start of every trip, plus there’s voice guidance to remind people of some of the key points, and even stickers on the e-scooters with the main dos and don’ts.
Our e-scooters are GPS-connected and all trips are logged so it’s fairly easy to identify the small number of riders who break the rules. Also our e-scooters are fitted with registration plates which help people report any issues and this promotes responsible riding.
Usually cases of repeat offending are rare. We generally warn people and try to educate them further, but we can also suspend their accounts if they have been riding dangerously or if they continually break the rules. Ultimately we’re committed to providing a safe, convenient and fun service for our users but also for the general public.

Q: How does the parking work? Can people just pick up and drop off an e-scooter anywhere?
Parking areas have been refined in and around Newcastle city centre to ensure they are best located to balance responsible parking and convenient access. In addition, Neuron has incentivised parking at designated parking spots throughout Newcastle by offering 30p discounts and placing visual markers on the ground in these locations.

Neuron has customised the end trip parking checklist to be relevant to the narrow pavements of Newcastle residential neighbourhoods. Following consultation with Newcastle’s Disability Forum, the Neuron app prompts users “to park their scooters parallel to the kerb, and with consideration for other pavement users including the partially sighted”.

Q: In the context of COVID-19, how does Neuron make sure that the e-scooters are safe and sanitised so they are not spreading the virus?
We’ve gained great experience of operating through lockdowns in the UK as well as Australia and New Zealand. We were proud to have continued our services in Newcastle for those with essential jobs, giving free passes for key workers.

In Newcastle we have implemented a range of cutting-edge antiviral measures to keep our e-scooters clean and to protect riders. We have teams on the ground working around the clock with hospital-grade disinfectant that lasts up to seven days, to keep our scooters germ-free. There are also reminders in the app for riders to sanitise their hands after using them and of course we log every trip which can potentially help with contact tracing if required.

E-scooters are great for those people that want a more individual transport option that also allows them to continue social distancing. We’ll continue to work closely with the council and will be monitoring the risk levels as they change.

Q: How safe are the e-scooters to use in bad weather such as ice and snow?
Our N3 e-scooter is ideal for UK roads and weather conditions, with its large 11.5-inch wheels and durable silicon tyres that deliver the highest levels of safety, stability and rider experience. But we don’t advise using them in the worst conditions when there’s snow or ice present on the roads. If the conditions are bad we have the technology to remotely turn off all the e-scooters so that they cannot be used.
Our operations team on the ground will of course be monitoring weather conditions daily in partnership with the council. They’ll be able to make a call on whether to suspend the service if they feel that conditions present a risk to rider safety.

Q: How much does it cost to ride a Neuron e-scooter and how do people get started?
Riders can book and use our e-scooters through Neuron’s user-friendly app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play and set up in a matter of minutes.
Single trips cost £1 to unlock the e-scooter and 18 pence per minute after that. This means a typical journey, for example from Central Station to St Nicholas Hospital would cost only a few pounds.
More frequent users have the option to purchase Neuron Passes, a subscription service, available in one-day (£10), three-day (£15), weekly (£22), or monthly (£36) options. The packages allow users to ride as many times as they want for up to 90 minutes per day in Newcastle for a fixed affordable price. This results in no additional unlocking fees and savings of up to 90%.

Q: Neuron’s e-scooters are also operating in Sunderland. Can I take an e-scooter on the Metro between Newcastle and Sunderland? Sunderland and Newcastle?
No, it is illegal to take an e-scooter on the Metro. E-scooters that are part of the Newcastle trial will not work outside of the Newcastle riding area, once the e-scooter leaves the Newcastle riding area the engine will cut out and will not restart until it returns to the riding area. The same applies for an e-scooter that is part of the Sunderland trial.

Q: Why is it still illegal for me to use a private e-scooter?
Under current laws it is illegal to use privately owned e-scooters on the highways network. The government is asking councils to operate trial schemes for rental e-scooters that will help to determine how safety considerations can be addressed and whether the legal position could be changed.
Neuron’s e-scooters look and behave very differently from private e-scooters. They are bright orange, that’s to make them highly visible, and they are noticeably bigger and more robust than other e-scooters. They have large 11.5 inch wheels and an extra-wide deck for stability. And they are packed with a range of high-tech safety features.

Q: Should I wear a helmet?
Every Neuron e-scooter has an integrated helmet that’s electronically released at the start of the journey. A helmet is the single most important piece of safety equipment and, though it is not law to wear one in the UK, every rider should protect themselves.

Q: How do I report dangerous driving?
Neuron e-scooters are GPS enabled so the rider and their location is always known. If you wish to report any issues, Please contact Neuron on 0191 917 4313 (24 hours) or quoting the exact time, location and the e-scooter's unique identification number.

Important riding rules:
● Riders must be 18 years old and above
● Must have provisional or full driving license
● No riding on pavements
● Helmets should be worn
● Be aware and remove earphones
● One rider per e-scooter
● Keep a safe distance from pedestrians
● Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs
● Keep both hands on the handlebars
● Park responsibly and don't cause an obstruction

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