Did you know that e-scooters fall within the definition of a motor vehicle? If you said no, you wouldn’t be alone. Due to the growing popularity of e-scooters, and a general unfamiliarity of the laws governing them, the Metropolitan Police have asked retailers to warn purchasers where they are illegal to use.
This is timely advice given that e-scooters are reported as being a top-selling Christmas gift this year.
All privately owned e-scooters are illegal to use in public places and on the road. However, this does not apply to trials of rented scooters which are currently taking place on a limited basis in some areas.
Why and where are they illegal to use?
The way in which e-scooters are motorised and designed means that they fall within the definition of a ‘motor vehicle’. Therefore, the laws applying to motor vehicles also apply to e-scooters and so one cannot be used on a public road without complying with the appropriate legal requirements.
As well as public roads, the law applies to spaces set aside for pedestrians including pavements and cycle lanes.
The law similarly applies to other so-called “powered transporters” such as Segway’s, hoverboards and go-peds. It does not, however, apply to electrically assisted bikes (although these have their own regulations).
What are the legal requirements for use?
In principle, if an e-scooter user could meet the same requirements as a motor vehicle user, they may be able to use public roads. This would include insurance, licensing, registration, driving licence, use of safety equipment and conformity with technical standards.
It is unlikely, however, that such a user would be able to meet all of the requirements, meaning it would be illegal to use the e-scooter in these places.
Is it legal to use e-scooters anywhere?
It is legal to use an e-scooter on private land if the landowner permits you to do so.
What are the penalties?
There is a range of offences that could be committed in relation to e-scooters. For example, the simple use of one on a road could result in a fine, penalty points or disqualification. Use, whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, would be more serious and can lead to imprisonment.
Has anyone actually been prosecuted?
There are, indeed, recorded cases of prosecutions involving Segway’s, go-peds and a “City Bug” e-scooter.
Therefore, if you are in any doubt over the use of your e-scooter, please seek legal advice before taking to the road.
How can we help?
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact Tuckers Solicitors on 0845 200 3367