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ELECTRIC SCOOTERS AND THE LAW UK

  • 3 min read

ELECTRIC

ELECTRIC SCOOTERS AND THE LAW UK



The UK law and electric scooters

UPDATE 1 JULY 2020
We are pleased the UK government announced rental e-scooters will become legal on roads in Great Britain from 4th July 2020. We understand and fully support new methods of transport to help alleviate the pressure on public transport. We also believe this is a sensible decision amid the corona virus crisis. 

However, we are disappointed private electric scooters are not included in the new regulations.  We are huge supporters of micro mobility solutions and believe private electric scooter ownership is a safer, more economical way of getting people from A-B compared to escooter sharing schemes.  You can read our full thoughts on private scooter vs shared escooters here >>

The growing popularity in electric scooters, coupled with the increasing demand on the government to seek alternative modes of transport that are greener, cleaner, and cheaper, mean the future for adult electric scooting looks bright. 

We are pleased the UK government announced rental e-scooters will become legal on roads in Great Britain from 4th July 2020.  We understand and fully support new methods of transport to help alleviate the pressure on public transport.  We also believe this is a sensible decision amid the cornovirus crisis.  

Electric scooting and scooter sharing is becoming big business globally, with the likes of Lime rolling out schemes in ten countries including the US, Germany, New Zealand, France, Spain and Canada.

There’s pressure on the UK to keep pace but despite electric scooters being around for some time, there’s still consumer uncertainty about where electric scooters can be legally ridden and the UK law is at best, confusing.

With this in mind, we take a closer look at the current legalities around adult electric scooter usage in the UK by answering some of the common questions.

Commonly asked questions about adult electric scooters

Are adult electric scooters legal in the UK?

The adult electric scooter is powered partly by a battery motor and is therefore classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicle (PLEV) by the Department for Transport (DfT), making it illegal to use on UK roads and pavements. However, it is legal to use them on private land and property.

It is worth noting though that pressure is mounting for the government to review its out-dated Highways Act of 1835 as it seeks alternative greener, cleaner and cheaper modes of transport. Worryingly, without change, the current act could stifle innovation in this area.

With countries such as France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland positively supporting electric scooter usage, let’s hope the UK will be able to take a ‘steer’ from these countries.

In the meantime, our advice is to observe some good common sense such as ensuring you are not going too fast, that you have good control on your scooter, are wearing a helmet and have working lights (link to accessories range).

Can adult electric scooters be used on the road?

No, an electric scooter cannot be ridden on the road for a couple of reasons. The DVLA requires electric vehicles to be registered and taxed in order to use the road. However, because the adult electric scooter falls within the PLEV category (Personal Light Electric Vehicle) its power and low maximum speed mean it cannot be used on public roads in the UK. This rule also extends to pavements too. However, the electric scooter can be used on private land, such as your home or off-road space.

Can you ride electric scooters on footpaths? 

Under the Highway Act, electric scooters are not allowed to be used on a footpath unless needing to do so in order to park.

Do you need a licence for adult electric scooters?

No, you are not required to have a driver’s licence or learners permit in order to use an electric scooter because it cannot be used on roads.

Do I need to register or tax an adult electric scooter?

No, you do not need to register an electric scooter and it is tax exempt because it cannot be used on roads.

Do I need to insure an adult electric scooter?

No, insurance is not required to ride an electric scooter.

Further reading

Want to find out more?

Electric scooters for adults and kids – are they legal?

Best electric scooter for adults

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