Electric Scooter Law in the UK: Here's Everything You Need to Know
Electric Scooter Law in the UK
Electric scooters are growing in popularity in most parts of the world that have adopted modern urban transport, and it’s a good thing. That’s in consideration that e-scooters offer a variety of benefits that range from portability to eco-friendliness. Besides, using an e-scooter to move from point A-B in the city is considerably convenient.
Even with the numerous benefits offered by e-scooters, there are some restrictions that limit the usage of these powered transporters, which leads us to the question, “What does the UK law say about the use of e-scooters?”
Over Lockdown number one we got our selfs a Segway Es4 E-Scooter and initial impressions were very positive but then the build quality started to come into question especially around the bearings loose mechanism on the front wheel, obviously because of demand in the world these have now increased with mass produced, so unfortunately and post-production checks suffer as a consequence.
When Riding it at first we found it very quick and unstable you have to keep your wits about you at all times, we pushed it hard on private land and were able to achieve a crazy 21 mph, when you think of how small the wheels are this is insane but fun.
We have been in the Segway tour business for over 12 years and in Paul's opinion they are not as safe as a regular Segway I2, so if you are going to get one, ask to try one out first as it can feel very scary to start with.
Are electric scooters legal in the UK?
If you live in the United Kingdom, you are legally allowed to purchase, sell, and own an e-scooter. However, there are some limitations to how you can use your powered transporter. Even with recent changes to the law as far as the use of electric scooters is concerned, the use of private e-scooters is still limited to private land.
In other European cities like Paris, however, scooters are widely used, with thousands of scooters seen on the roads every single day. Luckily, there is some hope for the Devon dwellers and citizens of the UK in general, who have been yearning to use their e-scooters on the streets.
What is the current status of the law regarding the use of electric scooters?
According to the law of the United Kingdom, e-scooters are categorized as “Powered Transporters”, alongside other products such as powered unicycles, “go-peds”, and hoverboards. Surprisingly, every product in the “powered transporters” category is seen as having satisfied the UK legal definition of a “motor vehicle” due to the way these products are designed and powered.
For an electric scooter to be road legal, therefore, it would have to meet the standards set for motor vehicles, as per the Road Traffic Act of 1988. These are the same strict requirements that cars should meet which include having a license, being taxed, having number plates, being registered with the DVLA, and having insurance.
The “powered transporter” classification is the same reason why e-scooters can’t be used on cycle lanes and pavements. That’s in consideration that in the eyes of the government, an electric scooter is a motor vehicle, and motor vehicles are not allowed to use pavements of cycle lanes.
So, therefore, where can one use a private e-scooter legally in the UK?
If you already own an electric scooter in Devon, you most probably are already aware that the legal place to use an e-scooter would be on private land with the landowner’s permission. This statement by the law is, however, open to a wider application than you may think.
That’s in consideration that a successful trial that took place in 2018 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London enabled riders to rent and use e-scooters around the park, despite the fact that the park is open to the public. This happened simply because the park is privately owned despite being open to the public.
Is there a likelihood that the UK scooter law will change?
The pleasant answer to this question is Yes! From 4th July 2020, the government allowed the use of hired e-scooters in various locations throughout the UK as part of a trial scheme that is expected to take place for the next 12 months.
The main aim of the scheme is to possibly pave way for legal, widespread scooter use in the United Kingdom. The e-scooters will be used under certain conditions in specific locations throughout the United Kingdom.
What conditions have been put in place for the e-scooter trials?
As expected, there are some terms and conditions that will guide the e-scooter trials in the UK. The first and most important condition is that no private electric scooter is allowed to participate in the trials. The main reason for this is to reduce the likelihood of dangerous, low-quality e-scooters appearing on the streets. In addition, the hired scooters and riders are required to meet the following conditions:
- The rider should be above the age of 16
- Riders will be required to have a full or provisional UK driving license
- One must not use the scooter under the influence of any kind of drugs or drinks
- The e-scooters are limited to roads or cycle paths and should never be used on motorways
- Electric scooters are not to be used on pavement, unless when one is parking
- All e-scooters are limited to a speed of 15.5mph
- The scooter should only carry one person
- When released, the power mechanism of the e-scooter must default to the “Off” position
Even though wearing a helmet is not mandatory when riding an e-scooter, it’s highly recommended. The rental companies also have a part to play during the trials. Taking into consideration that the e-scooters are seen by the law as motor vehicles, the rental company will have to insure all their scooters. In addition, the companies should only offer e-scooters with a maximum power of 500W and a maximum weight of 55kg.
If you plan to use the hired e-scooters for greater mobility convenience, you have to keep in mind that since you will be using the scooter on the open road, you will have to pay attention to the same legislation that governs motorists. That means that you risk getting penalty points on your license or being fined if you fail to meet the restrictions that have been put in place. Of course, you can expect several other restrictions from local authorities depending on your location.
In the below is the official government guidance and information on all the trials going on in the UK at present.
With the recent trials, it’s almost certain that the use of electric scooters in public places in the United Kingdom will eventually be legalized. Since e-scooters have been on the government’s radar for quite some time now, you can expect that the trial scheme will play a major role in paving way for what follows.
The trials will give the government the opportunity to monitor the impact of allowing electric scooters in different cities and towns throughout the United Kingdom. Even though privately owned scooters may eventually be allowed on UK roads, the exact time when that will happen remains to be seen. You can be sure, however, that it won’t be until the current trial period is over.