Are electric scooters illegal in the UK?
It is currently illegal in the UK to use a privately owned electric scooter on public roads, pavements or cycle lanes. Electric scooters can only be legally used on private land with the permission of the landowner. You are, however, legally entitled to buy, sell and own an electric scooter.
In UK law, an electric scooter is classified as a “powered transporter”, alongside products such as hoverboards, “go-peds” and powered unicycles.
The only exception iswhere there is a governemnt trial in place.
Why is the use of an electric scooter still banned?
The “powered transporter” classification is the reason that electric scooters cannot be legally used on pavements or cycle lanes. Quite simply, motor vehicles cannot be used on pavements or cycle lanes – and in the eyes of the law an electric scooter is a motor vehicle.
Due to the way in which “powered transporters” are designed and motorised, every product in this classification – including electric scooters – falls within the legal definition of a “motor vehicle” in the UK.
What are the current vehicle requirements for an electric scooter?
In order to be road legal, an electric scooter would need to meet all of the standards required of motor vehicles by the Road Traffic Act 1988.
These are the same, stringent standards which cars are required to meet. This means that, amongst other requirements, an electric scooter must:
- be roadworthy;
- be registered with DVLA;
- have up to date vehicle tax;
- have a current MOT certificate.
However no models currently meet these standards.
What are the potential consequences of using an e-scooter on the road or pavement?
Riders risk a £300 fine and six points on their driving licence if they choose to ride an electric scooter on a public road, pavement or cycle lane. Other penalties and offences include:
- Riding on a pavement: £50 fine
- Riding without the correct licence: up to £100 fine
- Riding through red lights: £100 fine and possible penalty points
- Using a mobile device while riding: £200 fine and six penalty points
- Driving under influence: you face court imposed fines, a driving ban and possible imprisonment
Remember: any person who uses an privately owned e-scooter on a public road is committing a criminal offence and can therefore be prosecuted. The use of an electric scooter in an antisocial manner in public could lead to the vehicle being seized under section 59 of the Police Reform Act.
What are the rules for rented electric scooters?
The UK is seeing trials of rental e-scooters. In order to avoid being prosecuted, anyone renting an electric scooter on a public road or other public space must follow all applicable traffic laws.
Please note the following rules for using a rental e-scooter:
- To use a shared electric kick scooter, you must have the category Q entitlement on your driving licence. You can use an e-scooter if you have a full or provisional UK licence for categories AM, A, or B that includes entitlement for category Q.
- You do not need additional insurance as the e-scooter rental operator has covered it.
- A trial e-scooter can be used on the road (with the exception of motorways) and in cycle lanes. An e-scooter cannot be used on the pavement.
- Only one person should an electric scooter at a time.
- You are not allowed to tow anything on an e-scooter.
- You are also not allowed to use a mobile phone on an e-scooter.