Electric scooter law has become a topic of widespread confusion as of late. Ever since the tragic death of TV presenter Emily Hartridge, people have been questioning the safety and legality of electric scooters.
Despite the fact that electric scooter law is a mystery to most, these innovative devices are growing in popularity. In addition, there are some who believe that they should not only be permitted, but supported and promoted across the UK.
But where does electric scooter law stand in the UK right now? Is it actually illegal to ride an electric scooter?
The Craze Sweeping Europe
Electric scooters first hit the roads a couple of years ago, though are now readily available in more than 100 cities worldwide. They’re particularly popular in Europe – Paris alone being home to approximately 20,000 of them.
Unfortunately, the electric scooter craze came about so quickly that lawmakers didn’t really know what to do with it all. Electric scooter law technically didn’t exist when the scooters were first introduced. Instead, it’s be the case of making things up as they go along for most authorities.
In Paris, fines of up to €135 have been introduced for riding electric scooters on the pavement. You can also be fined as much as €35.00 for ‘antisocial’ parking. Penalties which seem relatively steep, until you consider the current state or electric scooter law in the UK.
Rules for Riding in Britain
From a strictly legal standpoint, there’s pretty much nowhere in the UK you can legally ride an electric scooter. At least, in terms of public places. Electric scooter law in the UK forbids their use on public roads and pavements. You can only use them on your own private property, which doesn’t grant you a great deal of freedom.
This is because for the time-being, electric scooter law classifies the devices as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs). This means they fall under the same rules and restrictions of conventional motor vehicles. In order to be legally used on the roads, they would have to be taxed, pass an MOT inspection, have visible lights, signalling ability and number plates.
Suffice to say, this excludes pretty much every electric scooter in the world from use in public places.
Remarkably, riding an electric scooter on a public road or pavement in the UK can land you with six points on your driving licence. Not to mention, a £300 on-the-spot fine. People are flouting the rules all over the place, but are increasingly feeling the heavy hand of the law.
What Happens Next?
Public opinion on electric scooter law is relatively obvious. Thousands of people are buying them, riding them and using them as a preferred mode of transportation to cars. They’re saving money, reducing their carbon footprint and minimising congestion on the roads.
At a consultation on the future of mobility last year, several key contributors stated that electric scooter law in the UK would have to change. Unfortunately, there’s been no movement as of yet, nor any indication of an imminent overhaul.
“We are examining whether they can be used safely on the road – and if so, how that should be regulated to ensure the public’s safety. However, companies must understand that reviewing laws does not necessarily mean laws will change,” said transport minister Michael Ellis
“People who use e-scooters need to be aware it is currently illegal to ride them on the pavement and the road.”