As you may have noticed by the sheer amount of them taking over the roads these days... e-scooters are becoming more and more popular. With so many of them on the road, it’s important to know the correct laws so that everyone is safe. It’s time to reveal the facts of scooter laws, especially as it’s becoming clear that electric scooters will soon be a fully regulated form of transport in the UK.
Do’s and Don’ts: Electric Scooters
As it stands, privately-owned electric scooters are not permitted for use on any public highway in the UK. Therefore, it is illegal to ride your privately owned e-scooter on any road, pavement or cycle lane (BBC 2021). You can, however, ride a privately owned e-scooter on private land, but only if you have the landowners permission.
On the contrary, it is legal to buy, sell and own an e-scooter.
The only e-scooters that are permitted for use in the UK on public highways are those rented as part of the current nationwide trial scheme. However, the use of government rental scooters are subject to local rules and regulations, as well as restricted for use in certain geographical areas.
E-scooters vs the road
Now that we’ve established the details of which e-scooters can be ridden in public places, you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t as straightforward as renting a scooter and away you go. Not only must your e-scooter be taxed like every other vehicle on the road, but you must have a full or provisional driving licence. Most government rental schemes will keep a copy of your driving licence on file to ensure you’re legal on the road. On the other hand, you can ride your private e-scooter on private land without a driving licence.
Did you know that e-scooters are included under the new term ‘powered transporters’? Segways and hoverboards are also in this same category.
Are the electric scooter laws set to change?
With the popularity of e-scooters skyrocketing lately, it could be a sign that some of the current laws are outdated.
Since 2018, there have been many studies examining new methods of transport and how the UK laws may need to adapt to the influx of new technologies such as the electric scooter.
It wasn’t long before the UK government gave guidance on e-scooters and introduced rental e-scooter schemes across the country in the summer of 2020. The electric scooter quickly became a vital form of transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering a much more effective, hygienic and environmentally friendly way to travel.
Where can I take part in one of the government rental schemes?
The latest data shows that you can now rent an e-scooter from over 32 regions in the UK. Some of these are listed below:
Bournemouth and Poole
Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury and High Wycombe)
Cheshire West and Chester (Chester)
Essex (Basildon, Chelmsford, Colchester and Clacton)
Gloucestershire (Cheltenham and Gloucester)
North and West Northamptonshire (Northampton, Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough)
North Devon (Barnstaple)
North Lincolnshire (Scunthorpe)
Solent (Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton)
Somerset West (Taunton)
South Somerset (Yeovil, Chard and Crewkerne)
Staffordshire (Stafford and Newcastle-Under-Lyme)
Tees Valley (Hartlepool and Middlesbrough)
West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry and Sandwell)
West of England Combined Authority (Bristol and Bath)
So, if you’re in any of these areas and have a full or provisional driving licence, you now have the option of a much more eco-friendly and hygienic way to work or university.
A word on rental schemes
The idea of the current government rental schemes is to test how e-scooters fit into everyday public life. The trial period is set to end in the latter part of 2021 and the government have stated their intentions to address the overall legalisation of e-scooters, whether these be privately owned or rented.
These rental schemes are best to be thought of as a series of tests and fact-finding missions on e-scooters in use. These schemes will then hopefully inform the government to create safe and effective laws to address how e-scooters can be ridden in the future.
If you enjoyed this blog, why not try reading our blog The Benefits of Commuting by E-bike.