Electric Scooter Laws in the UK

Electric Scooter
Legally reviewed by: Kevin Waddingham

As the government looks to encourage more people to be environmentally friendly and avoid using their cars for short journeys, new schemes have started in the UK that allow electric scooters to be rented. However, it is worth understanding exactly how the laws around electric scooters work, and how they may have an impact on you.

What Are the Current Electric Scooter Laws?

Currently, the law in the UK states that it is illegal to ride a scooter that you have purchased anywhere other than if you are driving it on private land. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, e-scooters are classed by default as ‘motor vehicles.’ This, therefore, means that they are subject to laws requiring them to be built and used safely on UK roads. Additionally, this, therefore, means that the driver is required to have a full UK driving license, number plates, full insurance and any appropriate protective gear. Any relevant offences relating to speeding or driving standards also apply, such as jumping a red light, mounting the pavement, using a mobile phone whilst driving or speeding over the set limit. Currently, if you’re caught using a privately-owned electric scooter on public land, then you’re liable to receive a £300 fine, 6 points on your license and the possibility of having your scooter confiscated.

What About the Scooter-Sharing Scheme?

Because of e-scooters ’ relative illegality, it is therefore confusing that there has been a considerable increase in electric scooters being used on the roads. This is largely due to new pilot schemes that have introduced rental scooters to the streets of the UK and other areas around Europe. Those that wish to hire a scooter can hire it for a set time period, similar to the scheme in which people can hire push bikes in large cities. The rental scooters from select companies have been trialled in specific locations, with conditions put in place that include a strict ban for use on pavements, a scooter speed limit of 15.5 mph and riders required to be at least 16-years-old and hold a full driving license.

What Could Happen in the Future?

Taking into account the attempts to reduce carbon emissions, along with the COVID-19 pandemic encouraging people to use transport that will minimise exposure to others, the government are likely keen to allow people to use scooters on their commutes to work. The Department for Transport (DfT) has been working with local authorities to launch shared-scooter trials in the hope that it could lead to E-scooter laws being changed. The proposed changes to electric scooter road rules are part of a Future Transport initiative, with the government permitting rental trials from July 2020. It is hoped that they could offer the potential for a new eco-friendly means of transport, that also allows commuters to socially distance.

Due to the relatively new introduction of E-scooters to our streets, there have now been recorded instances of criminal charges being brought against individuals who have broken the law surrounding E-scooters. If you need help and advice from our criminal defence solicitors, then get in touch today.

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