Are electric scooters legal in the UK? The short answer is no, for now.
. Although you can legally sell, buy, and own electric scooters, it is currently illegal to ride them on public roads or trails. You can ride one on private land with permission from the owner, or in a test area (more on that later), but the law is pretty clear by the way: e-scooting is not allowed. If stopped by the police, you could receive a flat €300 penalty notice, plus 6 points on your driver's license, and though that may seem surprising given the number of electric scooters you see in a typical city. Last summer, London police arrested more than 100 electric scooter operators in a single weekend. But why are electric bikes different?
Types of electric vehicles
Currently, electric scooters are classified as light personal electric vehicles
(VLEP), a category that also includes automobiles and motorcycles, and requires licenses, fees, MOTs, signaling capabilities, registration plates, and visible red taillights. ELVs must also meet minimum construction requirements to be considered road legal. On the other hand, pedal-assist electric bikes are treated the same as regular bikes and do not have to be registered, taxed or insured. However, you must be at least 14 years old to drive one, and the motor must have a maximum power of 250 watts. The engine must not be able to propel the bike when traveling at more than 15.5 mph. Any electric bike that does not follow these rules is treated as an electric motorcycle or moped. Mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs are divided into two types: class two, which cannot be used on the highway and have a maximum speed of 4 mph, and class three, which can be used on the highway and have a maximum speed of 8 mph. 3 mph top speed. Class 14 vehicles must be registered and can only be driven by persons over the age of XNUMX.
Electric bikes are treated the same as push bikes, as long as they meet certain criteria and are assisted by a pedal (Image credit: Shutterstock)
Electric Scooter Rental Programs
There have already been some small trials of electric scooters in the UK
, including a long-running program operating in London's Olympic Park, but the government now plans to extend testing to any city or town in question. These trials were originally scheduled to start in 2021, but were brought forward after the coronavirus pandemic to lighten public transportation and encourage people to move greener than drive.
Several electric scooter companies have confirmed that they are talking to local authorities in the UK about launching pilot projects.
. According to CNBC, US companies Bird and Lime make their case, as well as European startups Tier and Voi. Although you haven't chosen a provider yet, Milton Keynes is one of the first cities to confirm its participation in an electric scooter trial
. The new Buckinghamshire town (which has also carried out extensive trials with autonomous short-trip 'pods') is particularly well suited to the project thanks to its system of red lanes, a network of dual-use walking and cycling paths that provides enough space and a smooth driving surface. How older cities, with narrow or cobbled streets, would fare remains to be seen, but we hope that planned improvements to cycling infrastructure will also translate into more manageable routes.
Bird and Lime are among e-scooter rental companies in talks with local UK authorities (Image credit: Shutterstock)
It is not yet known if the tests will be limited to rental scooters.
(so that local authorities know the speed and type of vehicles on their streets), or whether they will also allow people to drive private scooters.
There are certainly advantages to having your own scooter.
Not only will it work out cheaper in the long run with regular use, but it also means you won't have to worry about sanitizing your handlebars before setting off, something that would be difficult to manage with leased vehicles. Bird and Lime has suspended dozens of rental programs around the world for exactly this reason (but it's interesting to note that Spin says it's been asked to "up" its rental services to fill the void left by a shortage of public transportation). .
It seems like it will only be a matter of time before electric scooters are legalized in the UK, but there will certainly be rules regarding not only when and where you can ride, but also helmets, motor size and top speed. . While most electric scooters top out at 15 mph, some can hit 29 mph.
When e-scooters get the green light, it will surely be wiser to get yours from a British retailer
(many of which already exist) so you can be sure they will and won't comply with applicable laws. Don't do it accidentally. End up with something that's classified as a moped, and you'll be covered by a proper warranty in case of problems. We'll keep you posted as new tests are announced and more information is provided, so stay tuned. The best electric scooter deals today