Are Electric Scooters Legal?

Electric scooters, or e-scooters, are an up-and-coming mode of transport, but there’s a lot of uncertainty around when and where they can legally be used. With the government’s recent decision to fast-track electric scooter trials, we thought it was a good time to recap the rules as they stand right now.

Are electric scooters legal in the UK?

Yes, electric scooters are legal in the UK. However, there are lots of restrictions surrounding where they can be used.

Where can electric scooters be used?

It’s illegal to use them on public roads, on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas. The reason for this is that electric scooters are currently classed as ‘powered transporters’ by the government and fall under the same laws and regulations that apply to all motor vehicles. This makes their use on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas illegal straightaway and use on public roads would only be legal if electric scooters could meet the same requirements as motor vehicles (e.g. in terms of insurance, tax, license, registration), which they can’t.

Do you need insurance for an electric scooter?

No, you don’t currently need insurance (and can’t actually get it) because it’s not legal to ride electric scooters on public roads.

Do you need a driver’s license for an electric scooter?

No, for the same reason mentioned above.

Why are electric scooters currently illegal on roads and pavements?

To recap, it’s illegal to ride electric scooters on public roads because they’re covered by the same legislation as motor vehicles but can’t meet the same requirements. As for why there isn’t a law specifically covering electric scooters, this is something that has been under discussion for some time and it looks like there may be some developments in this area in the near future.

When will electric scooters become legal on roads and pavements?

The government had been planning to run electric scooter trials in 2021, but the trials have been fast-tracked in light of the coronavirus outbreak. They’re now due to begin in July 2020, although it’s important to note that they involve the rental of electric scooters and won’t include privately owned ones.
For more information about the trial and what it may mean for the future of commuting, check out our blog Commuting by electric scooter?