Electric Travels Ltd (ET) guide to electric scooter (e-scooter) legislation 10/09/2020

Jonathan StantonSep 14, '20

2020 has been quite a year and the knock on is that people want an independent, cleaner way to travel - whether it be for commuting or to connect with friends. Electric scooters meet this need… so how far away are we from it being legal to ride them in public places in the UK?

At the time of writing, (DATE OF BLOG POST), electric scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), so in essence, they're treated as motor vehicles and are subject to all the same legal requirements as a car such as MOT, tax, licensing and specific construction. So, because they don't always have visible rear lights, number plates or signaling ability, privately owned e-scooters can't be used legally on the roads as yet.

However, the law covering electric bikes (e-bikes), which are battery-assisted pedal cycles (and therefore are similar to e-scooters), says they can be used on the road and public spaces. The British Government plans to regulate e-scooters in the same way as e-bikes in future. It’s worth noting that it is already legal to use e-scooters in public places in much of Europe including France and Spain.

The UK Government has recognised that in order to reduce congestion, ease the pressure on public transport whilst reducing CO2 emissions, a cleaner, alternative way to travel is needed. This is one of the many reasons that on 1stJuly 2020 It became legal to ride a rental e-scooter on public roads, as well as pavements. Riders who use a rented e-scooter in public places need a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped license, must be aged at least 16 and are urged to wear a helmet. Only rental e-scooters are currently allowed on roads, and they are limited to 15.5mph, though local areas may choose to have lower speed limits.

Electric Travels Ltd believe that there is a strong case for allowing privately owned e-scooters on the roads in the same way that e-bikes and rental e-scooters are permitted. We will continue to follow the legislation and believe that it is just a matter of time before the Government include privately owned e-scooters within the same guidelines as e-bikes and rental e-scooters. Until then, please enjoy your electric scooter on privately owned land (with the land owner’s permission).

At Electric Travels Ltd (ET) the safety of our customers, as well as encouraging respectful and responsible behavior is of key importance to us. We strongly recommend that you always wear a helmet, appropriate clothing to protect yourself, keep to speed limits and within the realms of the law.