The UK law and electric scooters
The growing popularity in electric scooters, coupled with the increasing demand on the government to seek alternative modes of transport that are greener, cleaner, and cheaper, mean the future for adult electric scooting looks bright. Electric scooting and scooter sharing is becoming big business globally, with the likes of Lime rolling out schemes in ten countries including the US, Germany, New Zealand, France, Spain and Canada.
There’s pressure on the UK to keep pace but despite electric scooters being around for some time, there’s still consumer uncertainty about where electric scooters can be legally ridden and the UK law is at best, confusing.
With this in mind, we take a closer look at the current legalities around adult electric scooter usage in the UK by answering some of the common questions.
The adult electric scooter is powered partly by a battery motor and is therefore classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicle (PLEV) by the Department for Transport (DfT), making it illegal to use on UK roads and pavements. However, it is legal to use them on private land and property.
It is worth noting though that pressure is mounting for the government to review its out-dated Highways Act of 1835 as it seeks alternative greener, cleaner and cheaper modes of transport. Worryingly, without change, the current act could stifle innovation in this area.
With countries such as France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland positively supporting electric scooter usage, let’s hope the UK will be able to take a ‘steer’ from these countries.
In the meantime, our advice is to observe some good common sense such as ensuring you are not going too fast, that you have good control on your scooter, are wearing a helmet and have working lights (link to accessories range).
No, an electric scooter cannot be ridden on the road for a couple of reasons. The DVLA requires electric vehicles to be registered and taxed in order to use the road. However, because the adult electric scooter falls within the PLEV category (Personal Light Electric Vehicle) its power and low maximum speed mean it cannot be used on public roads in the UK. This rule also extends to pavements too. However, the electric scooter can be used on private land, such as your home or off-road space.
Under the Highway Act, electric scooters are not allowed to be used on a footpath unless needing to do so in order to park.
No, you are not required to have a driver’s licence or learners permit in order to use an electric scooter because it cannot be used on roads.
No, you do not need to register an electric scooter and it is tax exempt because it cannot be used on roads.
No, insurance is not required to ride an electric scooter.