Electric scooters UK law – do’s and don’ts

With the emergence of technological advances, we are now starting to see the start of the “transport revolution” promised by the current government, following the announcement of the e-scooter trial that began earlier this month.

Many people in the UK have used e-scooters throughout the UK despite them not being allowed on public roads and pavements prior to this month.

Following TV presenter Emily Hartridge being killed while riding an e-scooter when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea, South London, in July last year – it remained to be seen how the government was going to address the emergence of e-scooters in this country.

Are e-scooters legal in the UK?

Since Saturday 4 July 2020 it is now legal to use e-scooters on roads on public roads if purchased through the proposed rental scheme.

Whilst the trial is proposed to last for 12 months, if successful, it is likely that this period will be extended to allow for this alternative mode of transport to be used commonplace.

However, the following limitations apply to the use of e-scooters under the scheme:

  • Privately owned e-scooters are still illegal to be used unless on private-land;
  • E-scooters are banned from being used on pavements;
  • The speed is to be restricted to 15.5mph;
  • Cycle helmets are recommended but are not mandatory.

Are e-scooters safe?

There remains a number of outstanding questions about how the trial will be policed. How will authorities differentiate between legally rented and illegal privately owned e-scooters? How will e-scooters exceeding the proposed speed restrictions be monitored? Where will they be parked?

Additionally, whilst it is not mandatory, we urge anyone using e-scooters to take every available precautionary measure and wear cycle helmets, highly visible clothing etc.

However, despite these concerns and unanswered questions, the introduction of e-scooters offer a welcome alternative means of transport, beneficial for both commuters and the environment. They could reduce the level of emissions used by our growing population whilst supporting those returning to work following COVID-19.