Electric Scooters: Legal or Not?

Following the tragic death of Emily Hartridge in July 2019 in a road traffic accident whilst riding an electric scooter on a public road, the safety of electric scooters has been called into question. Electric scooters are becoming popular and so appearing more on streets across the UK. However, it is the case that e-scooters are actually currently illegal to ride on UK pavements and roads. E-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEV) by the Department for Transport (DfT). This means they are subject to all the requirements of a motor vehicle such as MOT, tax and licensing requirements including visible rear red lights, a number plate, and signalling ability. As e-scooters – which can reach speeds of more than 30 mph – do not have the necessary licensing requirements, they are not deemed safe to use on the road or pavement and are therefore only legal to use private land or property. Indeed, anyone caught riding an electric scooter is liable to face a £300 fixed-penalty notice and six points added to their driving licence. Following Emily’s death focus has been placed upon Highway England’s authority which has been criticised over the current laws governing the situation as the legislation was made two centuries and 31 years ago respectively. The case is the first UK fatality on an e-scooter and it has reignited the debate around e-scooter regulations in the UK given that many European and American cities have embraced the electric scooter. Many have even introduced schemes that allow people to hire a scooter as you would with a city bike. If you are seeking further information or advice about any of the above, please contact John on 08006990556. Disclaimer: this briefing is for guidance purposes only. We accept no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client’s own particular circumstances.
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