What is an E-Scooter?

by PCSO Andy Smith
Published: Last Updated on

by PCSO Andy Smith 5520

Electrical scooters (also known as e-scooters) come under the category of ‘powered transporters’. This covers a range of personal transport devices which are powered by a motor.

E-scooters are classed as motor vehicles under the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means the rules that apply to motor vehicles, also apply to e-scooters including the need to have a licence, insurance and tax.

It’s not currently possible to get insurance for privately owned e-scooters, which means it’s illegal to use them on the road or in public spaces. If you’re using a private e-scooter you risk the vehicle being seized under S.165 Road Traffic Act 1988 for no insurance.

If you cause serious harm to another person whilst riding an e-scooter the incident will be investigated in the same way it would if you were riding a motorcycle or driving a car.

Rental e-scooter trials

Trials of rental e-scooters are taking place in the UK. Anyone using a rental e-scooter on a public road or other public space, has to comply with the relevant road traffic legislation or they face potential prosecution.

To rent an e-scooter you must:
• be at least 16 years old.
• hold the correct driving licence (category Q or P/M).
• create an account with the rental company.

E-scooters can only be used in approved areas.

Legal use of an e-scooter

It’s legal to use an e-scooter on private land with the permission of the landowner.

Penalties and offences

If you don’t have a licence, or the correct licence, or are riding without insurance you could face a Fixed Penalty notice:
• with a £300 fine and six penalty points on your licence for having no insurance.
• up to £100 fine and three to six penalty points for riding without the correct licence.

You could also be committing an offence if you’re caught:

• riding on a pavement: Fixed Penalty Notice and possible £50 fine.
• using a mobile phone while riding; £100 and six penalty points.
• riding through red lights: Fixed Penalty Notice, £100 fine and possible penalty points.
• drink driving: the same as if you were driving a car; you could face court-imposed fines, a driving ban and possible imprisonment.

If you’re using an e-scooter in public in an antisocial manner, you can also risk the e-scooter being seized under section 59 of the Police Reform Act.

When riding an e-scooter, we would always recommend wearing safety_ protection such as a helmet and keeping to the speed limit.

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