What is an e-scooter?

E-scooter stands for electric scooter which is a scooter powered by a motor. An e-scooter is considered a motor vehicle and therefore are covered by the same laws that apply to motor vehicles.

What are the rules around them?

The Government are running trials looking at both the positive and negative impact e-scooters have on public roads with the hope that they will be a more environmentally friendly way to travel.

There are more than 30 areas taking part in rental schemes which has led to an increased number of e-scooters being used by unexperienced riders. Hiring an e-scooter can be done easily, if in London you must complete an online course first and then they can be rented using a mobile phone app.

Some privately owned e-scooters are able to reach speeds of up to 68 mph, however the rental e-scooters are limited at 15mph. Private e-scooters can not be used on public roads and only operated on private land.

What are my responsibilities as a rider?

If you are riding an e-scooter which has been rented as part of the government trial it can be ridden on a public road. A rental e-scooter will have motor insurance provided by the e-scooter rental operator.

In order to do so you must have a driving licence with a category Q endorsement on your licence. Provisional and full licences with the category AM, A or B include category Q. If you are a provisional driver you do not need to display L plates.

If you have an overseas driving licence you can use an e-scooter if you have a full valid licence from an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country or have a full valid licence from another country which entitles you to drive a small vehicle and have entered the UK within 12 months. Overseas provisional licences do not allow you to use an e-scooter.

Helmets are recommended however not a legal requirement on e-scooters.

As an e-scooter is considered a motor vehicle some of the same rules apply as they do driving a car:

  • Using a mobile phone whilst operating an e-scooter can attract a fine and six penalty points.
  • Running a red light can also attract penalty points and a fine.
  • Operating an e-scooter while over the drink driving limit can result in a disqualification. In January of 2021 the first person in the UK was found guilty of being over the drink driving limit while operating an e-scooter and disqualified from driving any motor vehicle for 2 years.
  • Careless driving, dangerous driving and drug-driving laws also apply to e-scooters.

If you would like any advice in relation to using an e-scooter, have been approached by police for an interview or charged with any offence it is vital you seek legal advice due to the technical nature of the area. If you need to talk to someone please contact one of our motoring solicitors, on disputes@bpcollins.co.uk or call 01753 279039.

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Matthew Brandis
Practice Group Leader

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