Electric Scooters (E-Scooters) and the Law UK
What is an E-Scooter?
An electric scooter (also known as an e-scooter) is similar to a two-wheeled manual scooter, except it is propelled by a motor. They are becoming increasingly popular in cities as they are seen to be a practical, eco-friendly, cost-effective mode of transport.
As the number of e-scooters on the streets has risen, so too has the number of accidents.
E-scooters can reach speeds of up to 30mph and higher and when they are in the hands of an inexperienced user, they can be very dangerous.
Some of the dangers which users should be mindful off are:
- Weaving between traffic and pedestrians
- Riding e-scooters without helmets or any other safety equipment.
- Riding e-scooters with a passenger on board
- Wearing headphones
E-scooter collisions have resulted in fatalities in numerous countries.
The UK has already seen its first death caused by an e-scooter, when 35 year old television presenter and YouTube personality Emily Hartridge died in a collision with a lorry in July 2019.
The Law in the UK
According to the Department of Transport, e-scooters are currently banned on the UK’s public roads, cycle paths and pavements without complying with certain legal requirements. They are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), or ‘Powered Transporters’.
Given how powered transporters are motorised and designed, they fall within the legal definition of a “motor vehicle” under s185 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Therefore, the laws that apply to motor vehicles apply to powered transporters such as tax, MOT, licence plates, etc., which potential users will find very difficult.
It is legal to use a powered transporter on private land with the permission of the land owner.
If you are caught using an e-scooter on a public road or pavement, you can face fines of £300 and six points on your driving licence.
When can I ride an e-scooter legally?
With people told to avoid public transport as best they can amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the government has said that rental e-scooters will become legal on roads in Great Britain from 4 July 2020 but personal e-scooters will remain illegal on public roads.
What is the e-scooter rental trial and how will it work?
The BBC reports that the Department for Transport wants e-scooters rental schemes trialled across Great Britain, similar to those seen in European cities.
The rented e-scooters could be used legally within set geographical boundaries but it would still be illegal to use personal e-scooters on a public road, even within a trial area.
Riders wouldn’t need to take out their own insurance to rent an e-scooter, but they would need a driving licence or at least a provisional one.
The government says it will monitor safety and keep the year-long scheme under review.
What to do if you are involved in a collision
An e-scooter rider owes a duty of care to pedestrians, cyclists and other road users in the usual way. If the rider is negligent and causes a person to suffer injury and/or loss, then they can be sued.
If you were harmed in an e-scooter related accident, it is important that you contact a personal injury solicitor to help you understand your legal rights and provide advice as to whether you may have a valid claim to pursue compensation for your injuries and any financial losses you incur as a result of the accident.
A solicitor will be able to investigate whether an e-scooter user has insurance to cover any claim. Although insurance products are available, it is currently not compulsory for an e-scooter user to have insurance and this can prove problematic when it comes to recovering damages and costs. By instructing a solicitor, this could increase your chances of bringing a successful personal injury claim.
If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence you may be entitled to a compensation. For a free consultation with one of our personal injury experts please call 0808 252 5231 or request a call back online.