In 2020 the UK Government made rental e-scooters legal to ride on some roads as a trial. The primary purpose of this move was to alleviate the pressure on public transport and reduce the number of cars on the road.
It was a great move, as people managed to maintain social distancing while commuting. Unfortunately, private electric scooters were not included in the new law.
What’s The Current Situation With Private E-Scooters?
You can currently buy and own an electric scooter in the UK. However, you cannot ride it in public unless it is part of a trial scheme.
The reason for this is because e-scooters are classed as powered transport. Therefore, they come under the same rules as cars and motorbikes.
That means you are not permitted to ride them on pavements, footpaths, cycle lanes and in pedestrianised zones. To ride them on roads, you need a license, tax and insurance. But currently, no electric scooters meet these requirements.
What Happens If You Ride An E-Scooter Illegally?
Even with these rules in place, you will see people riding e-scooters. Therefore, you may be tempted to ignore the laws too, and use one for commuting.
However, if you get stopped by the police, you can face the same punishments as a car driver. You can expect a fine of up to £300 and 6 penalty points on your driving licence. You can also get disqualified from driving and your scooter confiscated.
Will E-scooters Ever Be Legal To Ride In The UK?
According to the BBC, the Transport Committee is lobbying for e-scooters to be legalised on UK roads.
The committee suggests that e-scooters would make inner-city travel more accessible, speed up journey times and be used for deliveries.
These claims are backed up by the London Cycling Campaign. They say that e-scooters are a cleaner mode of transport for people who don’t want to cycle.
Transport For London is taking drastic measures to improve the infrastructure for commuters on bikes and ebikes. They realise that e-scooters are a great way for people to get around, but with regulated use.
TFL want to regulate e-scooter use, as they come with their own problems and challenges. We have seen many tragic accidents in cities that have allowed the unregulated use of e-scooters. But are they any more dangerous than a regular bicycle?
The future of private e-scooter ownership is still hanging in the balance, as the current trials have been extended to March 2022. However, many organisations are campaigning for a change in the law.
Until the trials have been completed and the results have been analysed, we won’t get a good picture of the future for e-scooters in the UK.
But, if we are allowed to ride them on the UK’s roads, we can expect them to be heavily regulated. For example, we won’t be able to ride them at night, will need to wear a helmet, and there will probably be e-scooter free zones. There may even be a requirement for some kind of licence.