Where Can I Ride My Electric Scooter?
Despite the trial of e-scooters still in its infancy, the sales of electric scooters have been on the rise. Even with some confusion surrounding the current rules and regulations, the popularity of e-scooters is stronger than ever. With more people turning to environmentally-friendly alternatives for their commute, the outcome from the UK’s trials of electric scooters is eagerly awaited.
With the rules ever-changing and evolving, it is no wonder that many are unsure where they can ride electric scooters currently. Our team at DIRT-E, however, are doing their best to keep you informed. Keep reading for an overview of the current rules surrounding electric scooters, as well as an insight into how the rules could change following the outcome of the UK trials.
What are the current rules surrounding e-scooters?
We cannot stress enough the importance of being responsible with your newly purchased product. As of this moment, you cannot ride privately owned e-scooters on any UK public road, cycle lane or footpath. However, you can ride them on privately owned land, which is where our excellent range of products truly shine.
You may or may not be surprised to know that e-scooters are classed as motor vehicles, similar to a car, motorbike or truck. That means they have the same road laws applied to them. As a motor can power vehicles to hit high speeds, they can be seen as dangerous to the public. We all know that regular scooters are used similarly to bikes on footpaths. This approach cannot be the case for something with a motor as there is the risk of them causing countless accidents.
The e-scooters currently being trialled across the UK require the rider to have a driver’s licence, insurance, and for the scooter itself to be taxed. If you have an overseas provisional licence, learner permit, or equivalent, you cannot use one. If you are caught without insurance while riding a trial e-scooter, you can be fined £300 and receive six penalty points. Being caught with no driver’s licence could see you issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) up to £100 and three penalty points. Police can also take action against rider behaviour, private or rental.
There are other offences too. For riding on a footpath, there is a possibility that you can be issued an FPN and a £50 fine. Using a mobile phone on an e-scooter could see you be fined £100 and six penalty points. The same goes for riding through a red light where you could be issued an FPN and penalty points or drink driving, leading to court-imposed fines, a driving ban, and imprisonment. As you can tell, these offences are similar to other vehicle offences. This all comes back to the fact that e-scooters are classed as motor vehicles in their own right.
Currently, there are no rules for wearing a helmet, which is similar to riding a bike. However, if you speak to any of our team, we strongly recommend you wear one. A helmet only brings benefits to your safety while riding. It is possible that you can be seriously injured while riding on private land or public roads. Do not take any risk. Invest in a good quality helmet, one which could potentially save your life.
Finally, you are not required to fit a registration plate onto your electric scooter like a car or motorbike. There could be a possibility that this is revisited by the UK Government. But, as of this moment, you do not have to worry about going out and purchasing one at all.
What is happening with the government’s e-scooter trials?
Across the country, there are a number of schemes put in place by local councils which utilise rentable e-scooters. The rate at which you pay varies on location, and those who participate will need a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence. You must also be 16 years of age and, although there is no legal requirement, are urged to wear a helmet.
Speeds are limited to 15.5 mph, which is significantly less than what you would normally see in a privately owned e-scooter. This is purely down to safety reasons. Allowing people to hit speeds seen in other motor vehicles can be dangerous to pedestrians and riders on busy streets.
Along with these aspects, the e-scooters are also scattered around various areas at specific access points. You can pick up an e-scooter, rent it with a mobile phone app, and are advised to take it back to the access points. This is not always the case, though, as people have been discarding them on pavements, making them hazardous for others. Companies running the trials are currently reviewing this predicament.
A common complaint that has been raised, and rightly so, is the lack of compulsory training for e-scooter riders in these trials. People should have some sort of know-how before riding an e-scooter because they are otherwise putting themselves and others in potential danger. Being able to prove that you are a safe e-scooter rider, or at least experienced, would be incredibly useful and could prevent or minimise the amount of reported incidents seen.
Where can you currently use e-scooters?
Privately owned e-scooters are, as we have already mentioned, banned from use on any UK public road, cycle lane or footpath. They can however be used on private land. With the trials taking place across the country, this is subject to change as more and more regulations can lead to their use on public roads. This is the hope anyway, as we cannot be sure this is the case. As the popularity of e-scooters grows though we should see them more publicly available.
There are currently 50 towns and cities in England taking part in the trials, which 11 private companies are running. These areas are:
- Bournemouth and Poole
- Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury and High Wycombe)
- Cheshire West and Chester (Chester)
- Copeland (Whitehaven)
- Essex (Basildon, Chelmsford, Colchester and Clacton)
- Gloucestershire (Cheltenham and Gloucester)
- Great Yarmouth
- Kent (Canterbury)
- Milton Keynes
- North and West Northamptonshire (Northampton, Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough)
- North Devon (Barnstaple)
- North Lincolnshire (Scunthorpe)
- Oxfordshire (Oxford)
- Solent (Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton)
- Somerset West (Taunton)
- South Somerset (Yeovil, Chard and Crewkerne)
- Staffordshire (Stafford and Newcastle-Under-Lyme)
- Tees Valley (Hartlepool and Middlesbrough)
- West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry and Sandwell)
- West of England Combined Authority (Bristol and Bath)
London has also joined the list this month in a year-long trial, Transport for London (TfL) confirmed. TfL said that “safety will be at the core of the trial,” and the standards required “will go further than those set out at a national level.” It will only be a matter of time before decisions are made. So fingers crossed, we will start to see more regulation that can lead to privately owned e-scooters being legalised. As we are all aware, they are the future of commuting.