Presently, there aren’t specific UK laws in relation to e-scooters. They are categorised under mostly the same laws and regulations as motor vehicles. Because not all e-scooters have signalling abilities or number plates, they cannot be used legally on roads – so currently, any privately owned e-scooter can only legally be ridden on private land. This will not always be the case, however, as the Transport Committee of MPs has called for e-scooters to be legalised on roads in the future.
On the 4th of July 2020, rental Electric Scooter trials kickstarted in the UK. A step in the right direction, e-scooters are good for the environment, cleaner and a more hygienic alternative commuting solution to the tube. This is particularly relevant to travelling in a global pandemic and now rental electric scooters are legally allowed on UK roads, and in cycle lanes in some places. If you own an e-scooter, then you are entitled to use it on private land and not on public roads, pavements or motorways. This includes parks, town centres, promenades or other places used by the public.
Rental electric scooter guidelines
If you are lucky enough to be participating in a trial area, then here are some government guidelines to adhere to. For example, in London, you are required to complete an online course before hiring an e-scooter. To see a list of trial areas, click here.
Legal speed limits
The government speed limit currently for rental e-scooters is 15.5mph. This is the national limit for the trial and in some areas, the maximum speed may be even lower. For privately owned scooters, there is no current speed limit set due to their use being limited to private land only.
License and registration
To use an e-scooter, a provisional or full driving license is required, covering what’s known as category Q. This is the category for 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles without pedals. The Q category is included in the AM, A or B license categories - so if you have one of these licenses, you can legally use an e-scooter. Note that if you possess a provisional license, you don’t need to show L plates on an e-scooter as you would a car or moped. In the future, private e-scooters will need motor insurance - however, currently, it is the e-scooter rental operator who will provide this.
If you happen to have an overseas driving license then check you qualify to use an e-scooter with the following conditions:
- If you have a full, valid license from an EU or EEA (European Economic Area) country that does not prohibit you from driving mopeds and motorcycles.
- If you have entered the UK within the last 12 months and have a full, valid license from a foreign country that entitles you to be able to drive a small vehicle (such as mopeds and motorcycles).
- If you have been living in the UK for more than 12 months then you will have to exchange your license to continue driving here.
- You are not permitted to use an e-scooter if you have a provisional overseas license, learner permit or the equivalent.
If you wish to check if you can drive in the UK with a non-GB license, then use this handy online tool.
Safety gear and clothing
While it is not a legal requirement, we recommend that you wear a helmet whilst travelling around - make sure it is the correct size and properly, securely fastened. You can wear a cycle helmet or even a skateboarding helmet – though we stock a range of full face and open face e-scooter helmets that are perfect for the job.
Protective pads are also a good idea. If you’re scootering at night, make sure you wear fluorescent clothing or light colours in poor light so drivers and other road users can see you.
Other current e-scooter rules and regulations
The following rules currently apply to rental e-scooters, and are likely to be applied to privately owned scooters when they eventually become road legal in the UK.
- Only one person should use a single e-scooter at a time.
- Do not try and tow anything with an e-scooter.
- Do not use a mobile phone whilst using an e-scooter.
- Make sure that small items or bags do not cause a hazard to others or to yourself. For example, do not hang bags from handlebars.
- Do not ride an e-scooter if you are intoxicated or drunk as you may be prosecuted under drink/drug driving laws. Careless and dangerous driving offences apply to e-scooters users too. The Met Police have stated that they will issue a £50 for riding on the footway. This fine goes up to £100 for use of a mobile phone and six driving license penalty points or if you ride through a red light.
At e-scooter co we are sure that eventually, you will be able to ride your own scooter around more freely - check out our quality range of brands such as Kaabo and Dualtron. Until then, we always advise people to stick to the rules so that we can support the ongoing lobbying in parliament to produce specific, better e-scooter laws.