Are E-Scooters Legal in the UK?

Are E-Scooters Legal in the UK?

You might have encountered an abandoned electric scooter by the roadside, had to dodge one approaching from behind, or experienced a complete transformation of your daily commute since using one. Electric scooters, commonly referred to as e-scooters, are becoming more prevalent across the UK and are regularly seen on high streets and pavements nationwide.

For some, e-scooters are a welcome convenience—an eco-friendly mode of transport to navigate from point A to point B. Others regard them less favourably, citing erratic driving as a hazard to pedestrians and discarded scooters as a tripping risk.

Regardless of personal sentiment, it appears that e-scooters are a fixture of modern transportation. By the end of 2022, over 750,000 private e-scooters were reportedly in use in the UK, with the Bicycle Association estimating that up to 360,000 were purchased in 2020 alone.

Despite their popularity, widespread confusion persists about this polarising mode of transport, especially concerning the laws governing their use.

In this blog, our personal injury solicitors address common questions about e-scooters and explore their legal status in the UK.

What is an e-scooter?

According to the Metropolitan Police, electric scooters fall within the category of ‘powered transporters’, encompassing various personal motorised devices.

Under the Road Traffic Act of 1988, e-scooters are classified as motor vehicles. Consequently, the regulations applicable to motor vehicles, such as the requirement for at least a provisional licence and insurance, also extend to e-scooters.

However, obtaining insurance for privately owned e-scooters is presently not feasible. Therefore, using them on roads or in public spaces is illegal. Operating a private e-scooter risks seizure of the vehicle due to a lack of insurance under the Road Traffic Act of 1988.

Are e-scooters legal?

Owning e-scooters is legal in the UK. However, due to the inability to secure insurance for privately owned e-scooters, they can currently only be ridden legally on private land with the landowner’s consent.

Using an e-scooter illegally can result in:

  • Facing a fine.
  • Accumulating penalty points on your licence.
  • The e-scooter is being impounded.

What happens in the event of an e-scooter accident?

Accidents involving e-scooters are investigated similarly to motorcycle or car accidents by authorities.

The UK government considers e-scooter users a ‘vulnerable’ group prone to injuries.

Preliminary data from May 2023 on e-scooter accidents in 2022 indicates:

  • 1,369 collisions involved e-scooters, compared to 1,352 in 2021.
  • Among all e-scooter collisions, 342 were single-vehicle incidents.
  • There were 1,458 casualties from e-scooter collisions, with 1,117 being e-scooter users.
  • Twelve fatalities occurred in e-scooter-related accidents, with 11 being e-scooter riders.

In the event of an e-scooter accident—whether you were riding the e-scooter or were a pedestrian involved—it’s crucial to seek specialised legal advice promptly.

If an e-scooter is being ridden recklessly in public areas, such as on sidewalks or through red lights, the rider typically bears responsibility for any resulting accidents.

DLS Solicitor’s skilled personal injury solicitors can guide you on the best course of action. To discuss e-scooter accidents with one of our specialists, please call 01625 460281.

When will e-scooters be permitted for use on roads and pavements in the UK?

The rising demand for e-scooters prompted the government to launch a consultation in 2020 to determine how to regulate them. This consultation revealed overwhelming support for legalising e-scooters and a general consensus that clear regulations are necessary.

In May 2022, plans to fully legalise private e-scooters were included in the Queen’s Speech. The UK government is currently finalising the details of the regulations required to facilitate the legalisation of private e-scooters on public land.

Although legislation was initially intended to be introduced in the 2022–23 parliamentary session to enable the government to regulate e-scooters, this has been postponed. It is now anticipated that legislation governing the use of private e-scooters on pavements and roads in the UK will be enacted in 2024.

There are indications that the proposed legislation will establish a new category for low-speed, zero-emission vehicles separate from existing cycle and motor vehicle categories, which will encompass e-scooters.

Why do I see so many e-scooters on the pavement and roads if they’re illegal?

As part of a consultation into e-scooter use and to promote environmentally friendly local travel, the UK government expedited and expanded trials of rental e-scooters in July 2020.

These trials are currently active in 31 regions across England, including Liverpool, Chester, and Salford, where local authorities collaborate with rental providers to assess the safety and practicality of e-scooters as a mode of transport.

To rent an e-scooter through one of these schemes, you must meet a minimum age requirement, possess the appropriate driving licence (category Q or P/M), and register with the rental company. Insurance is provided by the electric scooter rental operator.

Rental e-scooters in the trial are capped at a maximum speed of 15.5mph and are permitted for use on roads and within cycle lanes. They cannot be used on motorways or pavements.

Personal Injury Solicitors

If you’ve been involved in an accident with an electric scooter or face accusations related to e-scooter incidents, DLS Solicitors are here to help.

Compensation claims for e-scooter accidents are handled similarly to those involving cars or motorcycles. Our skilled personal injury solicitors can provide guidance on your next steps.

We serve clients throughout England and Wales, offering a personalised and supportive approach tailored to your unique circumstances.

Operating on a no-win, no-fee basis, we handle all types of personal injury cases, from minor incidents to life-altering accidents.

Navigating the process of a personal injury claim can be intricate and time-consuming. Our experienced team will lead you through every stage, ensuring you receive the best possible outcome.

Avatar of DLS Solicitors by DLS Solicitors
3rd May 2024
Avatar of DLS Solicitors
DLS Solicitors

Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

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