Are e-scooters legal to use in the UK? The short answer is no; not unless you’re using is as part of a trial or you’re on private land. In spite of this it seems that there is an ever increasing number of people whizzing about on them. Many people use them on the footpath, which is an offence even in areas where they are being trialled. Apparently if you do this you can face a fine, penalty points on your licence (if you have one), and additionally risk having your scooter impounded. But that’s as likely as the police taking action against cyclists on the pavement.
A number of areas are trialling the use of e-scooters on public roads. Riders must however, only use them on roads and in designated cycle lanes.
Areas Running Trials
- Bournemouth and Poole
- Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Princes Risborough)
- Cheshire West and Chester (Chester)
- Copeland (Whitehaven)
- Essex (Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Colchester and Clacton)
- Gloucestershire (Cheltenham and Gloucester)
- Great Yarmouth
- Kent (Canterbury)
- London (participating boroughs)
- Milton Keynes
- North and West Northamptonshire (Northampton, Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough)
- Oxfordshire (Oxford)
- Solent (Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton)
- Somerset West (Taunton and Minehead)
- South Somerset (Yeovil, Chard and Crewkerne)
- Tees Valley (Hartlepool and Middlesbrough)
- West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry and Sandwell)
- West of England Combined Authority (Bristol and Bath)
Rules & Regulations
In these areas companies are renting scooters out to users and that includes insurance. If you use your own however you must insure it yourself.
In addition, riders also need to have a category Q driving licence; but there appears to be no logical reason for this. If you apply for a provisional licence to drive car, this automatically entitles you to ride an e-scooter. Therefore a complete novice with no experience of the road can jump straight onto a scooter. They will be no safer than another person who doesn’t have a licence.
To confuse matters, the rules also state that a provisional licence holder does not need to show L plates when riding a scooter. So do we reason from that that someone who doesn’t have a licence must show L plates even though it’s against the law to ride without a licence? One wonders who gets paid for making these rules up!
There are various other safety requirements a scooter rider must not (or should not) do. For instance you should not carry passengers; tow trailers; use a mobile phone; and of course you mustn’t ride while intoxicated. Oh… and don’t take it onto a motorway!
For more information see the Gov.UK website