With the increased popularity of electric scooters (e-scooters), there have been many questions about where you can ride them? Here is a quick guide.
Firstly, e-scooters are not to be confused with electric bikes. Electric bikes can be used anywhere that you would use a normal pedal bike, provided you are over 14 years of age and that the maximum power output of the bikes motor is 250 watts and the maximum speed is 15.5 mph. E-scooters however are subject to all sorts of restrictions, which I shall now explain;
Firstly, the law (section 34 Road Traffic Act 1988) prohibits any mechanically propelled vehicles from using footpaths, bridleways or restricted byways. Whilst the law was drafted many years before electric scooters were invented, e-scooters clearly fall into the category of being a ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’. So, as the law stands you can’t ride your electric scooter on the pavement, bridleway or restricted byways.
How about cycle-lanes? Well, unfortunately for the electric scooter owner, the law (section 21 Road Traffic Act 1988) also prohibits ‘powered transporters’ from cycle lanes and cycle tracks. The law therefore also prevents e-scooters from being used on cycle lanes and cycle tracks.
So according to the law, where can electric scooters be used? Well, the only place that you can legally use an e-scooter is on private land with the landowners’ permission.
What are the penalties if you are caught using an e-scooter where the law states you can’t? A maximum fine of £1,000. But don’t be tempted to use an e-scooter on the road. As a ‘mechanically propelled’ vehicle, you will need to have it taxed, insured and you will need to have a valid driving licence. If you don’t you risk your e-scooter being seized by the Police and even penalty points on your driving licence, or ultimately a disqualification from driving.
Is the government likely to change the law? Well, given the rapidly increasing popularity of the e-scooter, the government has said that they are looking at reforming the law, but there are still safety concerns that need to be addressed before any change is likely. You will have to watch this space.