Adult electric scooters, or e-scooters as they’re otherwise known, are growing in popularity. Across the globe, companies have launched ride-sharing schemes using adult e-scooters, with over 100 cities now featuring some kind of scooter sharing scheme, including the likes of Paris, San Francisco and Madrid.
Here in the UK, their popularity is only just starting, and private adult electric scooters are beginning to appear on streets around the country, particularly in the major cities – but are they legal?
Current laws on adult e-scooters in the UK
Although they might be slowly appearing in towns and cities around the UK, they are not currently legal to use on public roads, pavements, cycle lanes or pedestrian areas and should only be used on private land.
This is because adult electric scooters are currently classed a Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEV) by the Department for Transport (DfT). This classification means that e-scooters are considered as an equivalent of a motor vehicle and need to adhere to all the legal requirements that comes with that, including MOT, Tax, licensing and registration.
This means that as vast swathes of electric scooters do not come with a visible rear light, number plate or the ability to signal turns to other road users, they currently are not legal on the UK roads.
What about e-cycles?
Although adult electric scooters are currently illegal to ride on UK roads, the law does allow the use of pedal-assisted electric cycles. This ruling enables bikes that are capped at a maximum of 15.5mph, and the likes of Lime, Mobike and Uber have launched schemes across London and other major cities.
Currently, even if an electric scooter is capped at a 15.5mph speed limit, it is not legal to ride on the roads, but the government is currently looking at amending the legislation to regulate adult e-scooters in the same way.
Why are adult electric scooters legal in other countries?
The United Kingdom is a little behind the curve currently when it comes to electric scooters. There has been a huge demand for these quick and easy forms of transport, particularly in the United States, where the leading brands such as Bird and Lime are found on the streets of almost every major city.
The demand is not just contained to America, though. Across the globe, from Vienna and Paris to Zurich and Brussels, citizens are able to unlock and ride a shared e-scooter with ease. This demand, coupled with the many benefits that these devices provide, has seen increased pressure on the UK Government to accelerate the amending of current legislation.
What the future holds
The huge demand has seen the government fast track their planned trial of rental adult e-scooters in the UK. Initially scheduled for 2021, the emerging coronavirus pandemic saw public transport offerings reduced, so to help mitigate this, the trial was brought forward to July 2020.
This trial has seen four ‘future transport zones’ created in the West Midlands, Portsmouth and Southampton, the West of England Authority and Derby and Nottingham with many more expected to follow. These zones will see locals able to hire an adult electric scooter without needing to take out their own insurance policy, only needing a provisional driving licence. In the same way, they are with cycles, helmets are not compulsory but are recommended.
The scooters can only be used in set geographical boundaries within these zones, and the use of privately-owned e-scooters is still illegal.
The trial is set to last for 12 months in total as of July 2020, and the government will then use the data gained over the year to amend the current legal framework and introduce clear regulations for the use of scooters.
What are the benefits of adult e-scooters?
These changes in regulation are going to be a welcome addition to the UK’s roads, allowing citizens to enjoy a clean, green solution to getting around town. Here at Yonder Wheels, we believe that this change in the law cannot come soon enough, and there are many benefits to using adult electric scooters, including:
One of the key benefits of adult e-scooters is that they are highly eco-friendly. Climate change is a very real threat across the globe, and electric scooters are a fantastic way of reducing co and pollution within our cities.
- Reduce noise pollution
In the hustle and bustle of the city, the constant noise from cars, buses, trains and motorbikes can be incredibly loud. Electric scooters are not only incredibly convenient, but they are also completely silent, ensuring they can be used throughout the night without disturbing anyone.
Adult e-scooters are a convenient solution to getting around town. Capable of whizzing through traffic, they can take you from door to door, allowing you to park them outside your home or office, saving you from having to queue through the underground or sit in traffic.
- Easy to use
Adult electric scooters are also very easy to use. The simple twist-and-go style makes them very accessible and lets anyone take advantage of them without needing any significant training.
Adult electric scooters are only going to become more common on the streets of the UK over the coming few years. Here at Yonder Wheels, our goal is to help people unlock the many benefits that high-quality adult e-scooters offer have to offer, so if you want to find out more, check out our full range here.
What are your views on the current UK e-scooter laws? Let us know your thoughts and views in the comment section below.