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Electric scooters, or e-scooters, are an up-and-coming mode of transport, but there’s a lot of uncertainty around when and where they can legally be used. With government-backed rental trials taking place across the country, we thought it was a good time to recap the rules as they stand right now.
Are electric scooters legal in the UK?
Yes, electric scooters are legal to own in the UK. However, there are lots of restrictions surrounding where they can be used.
Where can electric scooters be used?
Currently, electric scooters can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission. It is effectively illegal to use them on public roads, on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas.
Why are electric scooters currently illegal on roads and pavements?
Electric scooters are currently classed as ‘powered transporters’ by the government and fall under the same laws and regulations that apply to all motor vehicles.
This means that it’s illegal to use them on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas, and it would only be legal to use them on public roads if they could meet the same requirements as motor vehicles (e.g., in terms of insurance, tax, license, registration and vehicle construction), which in practice is virtually impossible.
The formulation of a law specifically covering electric scooters has been under discussion for some time. It looks like there may be some developments in this area in the near future, particularly with the rental trials currently taking place.
When will electric scooters become legal on roads and pavements?
Electric scooter rental trials have been underway in a number of areas across the UK since summer 2020. Local councils have been working with rental providers to test the viability of electric scooters as a safe and effective mode of transport.
The trial period has been extended until the end of November 2022 so that the most comprehensive evidence possible can be gathered. The government is then likely to launch another consultation phase before any official changes to the law are proposed.