Will you soon be able to use a private e-scooter on UK roads? Check out the following article for the tantalising details…
Across the UK, we have seen the introduction and increase of e-scooters being used in cities. These hop-on hop-off e-scooters can be rented by the public and are part of a government trial aiming to reduce carbon emissions by offering cleaner alternative transportation.
Despite the rising number of e-scooters, it is still illegal to use private e-scooters on public land in the UK. However, latest government information is leading to belief there are plans to fully legalise e-scooters as part of a new transport bill despite concerns regarding electric scooter accidents.
Keep reading to find out more about the currents plans to legalise e-scooter use…
What are the Current Rules Regarding E-Scooters in the UK?
Privately Owned E-Scooters
Currently, the rules surrounding privately owned electrical scooters in the UK are simple. You are legally allowed to own an e-scooter, but they can only be used on private land if the owner has permission from the landowner. This effectively means that the e-scooters cannot be used on public roads as an alternative form of transport, on pavements, in bike lanes or in pedestrian areas like parks.
These restrictions on private e-scooters are due to the fact they are currently considered powered transport by the law. This means that they must follow the same regulations as any other motorised vehicle, regarding things like its construction, licenses, insurance, and vehicle tax. Because of this, and many additional laws, it is impossible to make a privately owned e-scooter legal to ride on public land.
Publicly Owned E-Scooters
In comparison, the government is currently running e-scooter trials across different regions of the UK. This trial allows the public to hire e-scooters to get from point A to B. These electric scooters can be used on the roads and so to hire one, the rider must show their driving licence or provisional licence and be over 18 years old.
How Will the Rules Regarding E-Scooters in the UK Change?
In an attempt to reduce carbon emissions, the government is planning to legalise the use of private e-scooters in the UK. This is a part of the new Transport Bill that was introduced in the Queen’s speech in May.
There are still a number of concerns regarding the safety of these e-scooters on the roads, which will potentially lead to additional regulations being enforced. For instance, a limit on the maximum speed of these e-scooters is being discussed with the currently trials only reaching 15.5mph.
Will an Increase in E-Scooters Help to Reduce the Impact our Transport has on the Environment?
Currently, the UK is aiming to dramatically reduce transport emissions by 90% before 2040. This is one of the reasons why the government has begun the e-scooter trials. The idea behind the introduction of e-scooters is to reduce the number of short car journeys by providing an alternative method of transportation. As transport emissions are the largest producer of greenhouse gasses in the UK, this is one of the areas that need the most radical change in order to meet the 90% goal.
Safety Concerns Surrounding the Legalisation of Private E-Scooters in the UK
When it comes to the legalisation of private e-scooters in the UK, the main matter of concern is regarding the safety of these vehicles.
During the first 6 months of the e-scoter trials in London, there were 258 collisions. This on top of other concerning data, has led to people being understandably wary of the safety measures on e-scooters, leading to rising concerns over the legalisation of private e-scooters.
Additionally, with more cycle roads and public encouragement means that there are more people than ever choosing to walk or cycling to work. This increase in vulnerable road users may lead to further accidents between pedestrians, cyclists, and e-scooters.
Currently, there are also no legal requirements regarding personal protective equipment like helmets on e-scooters in the UK. This opens e-scooter users up to the risk of more injuries, even in a relatively small collision.
What New Rules Will be Put in Place if Private E-Scooters are Legalised in the UK?
Within the current trials, improper use of e-scooters can be punished by a fine, points added to driving licenses or having your e-scooter rental account suspended.
The rules surrounding this new mode of transport include…
- Users have to be a minimum of 18 years old
- They must have a full or provisional driving licence
- Users cannot let anyone else use their driving license to use the e-scooters
- E-scooters cannot be used on the pavement
- Not be used under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances
- Only one person can ride at a time
- The e-scooter must be parked respectfully and not block entrances, crossings, pavements, etc.
The maximum speed for the e-scooters being used in the government trials started at 10mph but has increased to 15.5. It is expected that this speed, along with the other rules mentioned above, will be used to minimise accidents and reduce obstructions.
Do you Think E-Scooters Should be Legalised in the UK?
While government plans to reduce carbon emissions and discourage short car journeys are admirable and good for the environment, a number of people have voiced concerns over people’s safety being compromised if e-scooters were legalised. However, others feel that welcoming e-scooters to the streets would mean that improper use of e-scooters could be effectively monitored and regulated, and the appropriate punishments could be put in place.
Whether you’re for or against the UK’s current plans for e-scooters, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter so feel free to drop a comment in the box below…