E-scooters: What are the rules and what do you need to know?

Rising in popularity, e-scooters are now commonplace in many parts of the UK – but what do you need to know about using one?

Voi rental e-scooters
Voi rental e-scooters

There’s been a real increase in the popularity of e-scooters in the UK over recent years. Often seen as ideal low-cost, low-emissions urban mobility, they’re a great way for getting from A to B – particularly in the city.

But there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding them – particularly on where they can be used. Here, we’re going to go through the key aspects of e-scooters that you need to know.

So where am I allowed to use an e-scooter?

Tier e-scooter
Tier hopes to deploy the new model along with charging stations in cities across the UK later this year (Tier/PA)

Currently, the only scooters that can be used on public roads are those included as part of government-backed trials. You’ll see these in operation throughout many cities in the UK, including Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Road safety charity IAM Roadsmart says that there are more than 50 of these trials currently in operation.

You’re also not permitted to take these e-scooters outside of the designated trial zone, though many of them have in-built trackers to stop this from happening.

Can I use my own e-scooter on the roads?

Ford e-scooter trial
Ford has kick-started an e-scooter trial in Essex

Not legally, no. Though it’s not illegal to purchase an e-scooter – and many major retailers are currently selling them – it’s not permitted to use these on public roads or pavements. They can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission.

So what happens if I’m found using a private e-scooter on a public road?

If caught by police, someone riding a private e-scooter could face fines of up to £300 and six penalty points on their licence, so the charges are quite severe. This also means that if someone passed their test less than two years ago, their licence could be revoked.

You could also face penalty points and fines if found to be using an e-scooter outside of its designated trial zone.

What have safety campaigners said?

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM Roadsmart, said: “As the use of e-scooters surge, so do the safety challenges. For those who reside in an area where an e-scooter trial is being conducted, we urge riders to take as many safety measures as possible such as wearing a helmet.

“For the government we once again urge them to complete the pilot studies that have been running for over a year and clarify the law on e-scooters once and for all.”

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