Are e-Scooters Legal in UK?

E-Scooter Law in UK

In the United Kingdom, electric scooters operate in a legal gray area.
E-scooters have gained in popularity over the years; they are less physically demanding than cycling or walking and are more ecologically friendly than driving or riding a motorbike. Given that you’re more likely than ever to encounter them (or use them) on sidewalks, bike lanes, and streets, it’s important that you’re familiar with their usage regulations.

You should be aware of a number of important regulations on electric scooter use in the United Kingdom. These cover how you may lawfully enjoy this relatively new and rapidly growing means of transportation, as well as the consequences you face if you use one illegally.

Are E-scooters legal to buy and use?

Many high street and internet shops are pushing the sale of e-scooters amidst their growing popularity, but it’s important to know that the use of e-scooters is still only legal in government-sanctioned trials.

Privately owned scooters may only be used on private property with the landowner’s consent. At the moment, a privately owned electric scooter may not be used on public sidewalks, bike paths, or roadways.

E-scooters are classified as ‘powered transporters’ under current UK legislation, and as such are handled in the same manner as motor cars. Therefore they you are prohibited from riding one on pavements or bike routes. You must also fulfil the same registration standards as automobiles and motorcycles, including having the proper MOT, tax, insurance, licence, and building procedures, which is now technically and financially untenable.

However, the government is considering whether to modify legislation to make e-scooter usage lawful beyond designated trial locations. A decision is expected in early 2022.

E-scooters have been legalised in several nations across the globe and businesses are pressing for the UK to follow suit. “We feel that e-scooters for private use should be legalised,” a representative for retail company Halfords told Move Electric. “They have demonstrable environmental advantages, enhance people’s access to transportation, and are a lot of fun to use.”

“However, as a responsible merchant, we want to see strict regulations in place for speed restrictions, where they are utilised, and safety measures like reflectors. The use of e-scooters should be following the Highway Code and the laws that apply to e-scooters.”

Are Any E-Scooters Legal?

Yes, but only via government-approved and council-approved trials at the moment. These comprise projects that are presently underway in England and will last through March 2022. These programme locations are now the only places to legally ride an e-scooter on public property, and they come with many limitations and requirements.

You must be at least 16 years old to use an e-scooter. You must also have a category Q endorsement on your driver’s licence. If you’re unsure whether you have this, keep in mind that a full or temporary UK licence for categories AM, A, or B includes category Q eligibility.

If you hire an e-scooter, you can only use it within the trial bounds. It’s also worth reading the fine print since additional limits may apply depending on where you are. There is also a maximum speed restriction of 15.5 mph, which may decrease to as low as 8 mph in specific locations. These limitations are often enforced by built-in monitors, so the e-peak scooter’s speed is automatically limited. Still, it’s a good idea to be aware of the regulations yourself.

Are the rules of the road different for a rental e-scooter?

The same traffic laws apply to users of rental e-scooters as they do to other road users. Mobile phone usage is prohibited, and riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will result in legal recourse. You are not permitted to carry a passenger on an e-scooter, and some weight limitations apply.

Government trials are currently taking place in select parts of the UK where rental e-scooters may be lawfully used; however, users must hire scooters from specific firms who have the necessary motor insurance.

These rental firms will have their own regulations for using their e-scooters, but below are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Must be over 16 years old
  • You must have a full or provisional driver's licence with category Q endorsement.
  • E-scooters may be used on public roads and bike lanes, but not on sidewalks.
  • One person may ride a scooter at a time and the scooter must not be used to tow anything.
  • Riders are subject to all traffic laws, including reckless or hazardous driving, using a cell phone while driving, and driving while drunk.
  • It is still unlawful to ride a scooter in public inside the trial zone.

How can I ride an e-scooter legally?

Over 50 towns and cities throughout England are now conducting e-scooter trials. No trials are scheduled in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland at present.

The experiments are primarily concentrated in metropolitan areas, where the goal is to minimise the congestion and air pollution caused by automobiles and to use more environmentally friendly modes of transport for shorter trips. If you live in an area where a trial is taking place, you will need to download an app and register with an operator. Then, after you’ve found an available e-scooter, follow the on-screen instructions.

Assuming you match the minimum rider standards, the e-scooter will be released and you may continue your journey. The cost of hiring varies, but it commonly begins at £1 to unlock the e-scooter and continues at 15p per minute afterwards. Certain operators sell daily, weekly, and monthly passes for a predetermined charge, but be sure to pay attention to daily riding time restrictions.

Can you use your own E-scooter within the Trial Area?

No, only e-scooters rented as part of policy trials are permitted on public roadways. Owners of private e-scooters may only use them on private property; they are not authorised for use on public streets, bike lanes, or sidewalks in any manner.

The trial’s goals include verifying the safety of e-scooters, integrating them into the present transportation system, and assessing whether they could play a viable role in a future transportation environment and support micro-mobility. The official experimental e-scooters are tracked and geofenced to prevent them from leaving specific locations, and they are subject to rules to prohibit infractions such as speeding.

The trials were established to allow the companies that operate them and the government to collect data on users, ride lengths, ride distances, and rider behaviour, with the ultimate goal of determining whether e-scooters should be legalised more broadly.

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What Are the Risks Associated with Riding An E-Scooter in Public?

You will be breaking the law if you ride your own e-scooter in public places. The use of e-scooters on public roads is currently forbidden in the United Kingdom, even if you live in one of the trial areas. Anyone found using an e-scooter outside of the trials will be subject to a fine, points on their driver’s licence, and the seizure of their car, among other penalties.

“The possible penalties depend on the sort and degree of the infraction, and consequences vary from fines and penalty points to a driving restriction,” according to government legislation.

“Those who are under powered transporters in a hazardous manner or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be found guilty of crimes punishable by imprisonment.” Driving regulations and speeding charges are also important considerations.

It’s also worth mentioning that your e-scooter might be impounded for a hefty fine of between £300 and £1000.

“The Metropolitan Police Department is pleased to support this trial in order to educate the government on how these e-scooters may become a part of our future transportation system. Private e-scooters utilised outside of this trial, however, are still illegal and will be seized,” said Metropolitan Police Service chief superintendent Simon Ovens.