Are you thinking about investing in an electric scooter or switching your mode of transport to a public-use one? It may be worth reading our summary of the rules that govern e-scooters in the UK!
Where can you drive them?
Like anything, prices vary depending on the quality and brand. From as little as £150, they range on average up to approximately £350, some even exceeding the thousands.
A worthwhile investment, you might think. An affordable way to travel and good for environment! However, there’s a caveat. The law dictates that e-scooters can only be driven on private land with the landowner’s permission.
It is a criminal offence to drive your person e-scooter outside of private land – this goes for on both the road and the pavement. In the eyes of the UK law, electric scooters are considered a type of “powered transporter.” This means the same restrictions apply to them as would a motor vehicles.
This means their use is not permitted on the pavement, footpaths or pedestrian areas. The same restrictions are extended to bridleways, cycling lanes and car parks.
You may at this point be wondering why you’ve seen people carting about on them in cosmopolitan areas? In 2020 the Department for Transport introduced legislation that legalised rental e-scooters for public roads and lanes.
Figures were published for the year ending June 2021 which saw 931 casualties in accidents that involved e-scooters. 732 of these were scooter users, and a further three of these were fatalities.
Due to these shocking statistics, the government began trialling the use of rental e-scooters. They must be certified – this varies region to region – and meet further compliance.
For example, in London, the three approved providers are Dott, Lime and TIER. These were “chosen after an open and competitive process to assess their ability to meet strict safety requirements and high operation standards.”
Canterbury’s selected provider is Bird and Kent County Council noted that “the project aims to bring affordable, environmentally friendly e-scooters to the city as part of a Department for Transport national trial.”
Anyone looking to rent an e-scooter must be over the age of 18 and hold a provisional or full driving licence. In order to unlock e-scooters you must register via the providers’ app, which often charges you a fee. The silver lining is that many providers give you the first 15 minutes free! The cost of riding after that varies, but typically a 15 minute journey costs around £3.
The speed limit on a rental is capped at 12.5mph and is automatically reduced to 8mph in ‘go slow’ zones. They are also programmed to safely stop in ‘no go’ areas.
Failure to comply
Being caught driving an e-scooter illegally can result in hefty fines, points on your licence and the repossession of your scooter. Rules stretch beyond how and where you drive them. Londoners can receive fines up to £1,000 for carrying an e-scooter on public transport, even when folded due to previous defective lithium-ion batteries causing fires on the network.
It is worth noting that electric bikes do not fall under the same scrutiny and regulations as they are not treated like motor vehicles.
The rules around e-scooters may well change upon the conclusion of national trials. Data is still being collected and reviewed, but for now e-scooters are either for your private garden or a somewhat slow and very public commute!