Did you know that e-scooters fall within the definition of a motor vehicle? You would not be alone if you did not know. Due to the growing popularity of e-scooters and general ignorance in respect of the laws governing them, the Metropolitan Police have issued an open letter to retailers to warn purchasers where they are illegal to use.
This is timely advice given that E-scooters are reported as being a popular Christmas gift this year.
Is it Illegal to use an e-scooter?
All privately owned e-scooters are illegal to use in public places and on the road. It should be noted, however, that this does not apply to trials of rented scooters currently taking place on a limited basis in some areas.
Why are e-scooters illegal to use?
As a result of the way that they are motorised and designed, the e-scooter falls within the definition of a motor vehicle. This means that the laws applying to motor vehicles also apply to e-scooters and so an e-scooter cannot be used on a public road without complying with the appropriate legal requirements.
It is important to note that in addition to public roads, the law also applies to spaces set aside for pedestrians including pavements and cycle lanes.
The law also applies to other so-called “powered transporters” such as ‘Segways’, hoverboards and go-peds. It does not apply to electrically assisted bikes (although these have their own regulations).
What are the legal requirements for the use of an e-scooter?
In principle, it might be possible to use an e-scooter on a public road if all necessary requirements are met. These requirements would include insurance, licensing, registration, possession of a driving licence, use of safety equipment and conformity with technical standards.
In reality, however, it is highly unlikely that the user of an e-scooter would be able to conform with all of the requirements, leaving it illegal to use an e-scooter in these places.
Where can I use an e-scooter?
It is legal to use an e-scooter on private land if you have the permission of the landowner.
What are the Penalties for using an e-scooter on a public road?
There is a range of offences that a user could commit. For simple use on the road the penalty could be a fine, penalty points or disqualification. Use whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, would be more serious and could lead to imprisonment.
Has anyone actually been prosecuted?
There are recorded cases of prosecutions involving ‘Segways’, go-peds and a “City Bug” electric scooter. If in any doubt please seek legal advice before use.
How can we help?
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact Serena Joshi on 0121 726 9116 or contact us and one of our specialist road transport lawyers will call you back.
[Image credit: fullstoppr/13256567)