Are private e-scooters currently legal in the UK?
No. It is not currently legal to use a privately owned electric scooter on public roads, cycle lanes and pavements across the UK.
At the current time it is only legal to use a privately owned e-scooter on private land. As long as you have permission from the land owner.
Currently, the only way that you can use an e-scooter on roads etc in the UK is by using a rental e-scooter from one of the many electric scooter trials which are currently taking place across the country.
Will private e-scooters be legalised in the UK?
In May 2022, the government announced plans to review the current status of electric scooters as part of the upcoming Transport Bill.
It is expected that new regulation will be introduced relating to e-scooters with safety set to be a key priority.
The likely outcoming is that electric scooters which meet the standards and regulation which are brought in become legal to use in the UK.
What will need to change for private e-scooters to become legal?
E-scooters currently fall into the category of ‘powered transporters’ which means legally they are defined as a motor vehicle. They therefore need to abide by the same laws as motor vehicles. Including insurance, tax, MOT, licences, and construction. But private e-scooters do not meet these requirements so cannot be used legally on UK roads.
As such a number of changes will be needed for private e-scooters to be used legally.
E-scooters will need to meet safety standards
The government plan to regulate e-scooters within the 2022/23 session. Once this is done, they will be able to stipulate the standards that e-scooters will need to meet to be sold legally. And decide how e-scooters can be used on UK roads.
It is expected these standards will include areas such as speed limitations, power limitations and lighting requirements amongst others.
It will then become illegal for manufacturers and retailers to sell electric scooters which do not meet these standards.
Changes to regulations
There is currently no special legal status for ‘powered transporters’ which is what electric scooters are classed as. New regulation will therefore be needed to enable electric scooters to be used legally on public land.
We may see a new category of vehicle be introduced which will enable e-scooters to be regulated and legalised.
Changes were made to UK laws to enable electric scooter trials to go ahead (The Electric Scooter Trials and Traffic Signals (Coronavirus) Regulations and General Directions 2022). So, we may eventually expect similar changes to be extended to all e-scooters
Whilst supportive of the need to find alternative forms of transport, insurance bodies such as the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) have highlighted their concerns around e-scooters and safety. They have also called for strong regulation before legal permitted use of e-scooters is extended.
As it is not currently legal to use privately owned electric scooters on public land, it is not possible to insure them as such. This will need to change, and a specific insurance requirement will be needed if electric scooters are legalised.
Electric Scooters are certainly an area of interest for many. And we are keeping an eye on the insurance implications linked to electric scooters if they do become legal forms of transport outside of the government backed trials. We’ll keep you updated as and when more information becomes available