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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 powered 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.

The Current Law in the UK

E-scooters are classified as “powered transporters”. This covers a range of personal transport devices which are powered by a motor.

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 not currently possible to get insurance for privately owned e-scooters, which means it’s illegal to use them on the road or in public spaces. If you’re using a private e-scooter in public, you risk the vehicle being seized under S.165 Road Traffic Act 1988 for no insurance.

When can I ride an e-scooter legally?

It is legal to use a privately owned e-scooter on private land with the permission of the land owner.

Where a trial rental scheme is running, it is legal to use a rental e-scooter on a public road or cycle lane, provided you have the correct licence and follow road traffic regulations.

To rent an e-scooter you must:

  • meet the minimum age limit; these can vary depending on the provider, so please check with them
  • hold the correct driving licence (category Q or P/M)
  • create an account with the rental company

A list of the trial areas are provided on the government website which is linked here.

Safety Concerns

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. E-scooter collisions have resulted in fatalities in numerous countries.

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

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 same way if you were riding a motorcycle or driving a car. 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 personal injury solicitor will be able to investigate whether an e-scooter user has insurance to cover any claim.

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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 0330 822 3451 or request a call back online.

Further Reading