e-scooter on street

Electric scooter law UK 2023

Electric scooter law 2023

It is not yet legal to ride your own scooter on public roads. but that could soon change. 

It is legal to buy electric scooters in the UK.

There are many places where it’s legal to rent and ride them on the road.

Private scooters: Electric scooter law UK 2023

An electric scooter is a motorized two-wheel vehicle or Personal Light Electric Vehicle (PLEV). They differ from electric bikes because they are classed as motor vehicles under road traffic laws.

Why are electric scooters illegal?

Because electric scooters don’t follow road traffic laws – they don’t have rear lights or registration plates. it’s illegal to use a privately-owned scooter on a UK road.

They are legal only on private land with the landowner’s permission. 

What if you’re caught?

Electric scooter law

If you are caught on a public highway, you’d technically be driving a motor vehicle with no insurance. You could be liable for a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on your driving license.

If the case went to court, you could get an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving. Your scooter could also be impounded by the police.

Even if you did have a model that followed the rules, you’d also need to follow the law to use it:

  • tax
  • insurance
  • MOT
  • driving license
  • helmet

This doesn’t stop people from riding scooters unlawfully.

Buying electric scooters

It’s possible to buy scooters without warnings that they are illegal on UK roads or electric scooters with high maximum speeds without breaking an electric scooter law.

Rented electric scooters: electric scooter law 2023

The government is currently running trials in 31 regions where it’s legal to use rental scooters on public roads (excluding motorways) and in cycle lanes.

In the trial, the hiring company ensures the electric scooter. Users require a valid driving license (full or provisional – categories AM, A1, A2, A and B).

They can ride the e-scooters on roads, cycle lanes and tracks (not on pavements). Helmets are recommended but not compulsory.

You need to use them safely and with care. Don’t use a mobile phone while driving, avoid bags hanging from handlebars, and don’t drink and ride. 

The trials were originally due to end on 30 November 2021 but were extended due to the pandemic. They were then extended a second time until 30th November 2022. Participating local authorities have been given the option to either end their local trial or extend it to 31st May 2024.

Scooter rental companies taking part include TIER, Lime, Voi, and Dott.  

Even in these trial areas, you still can’t use a privately owned e-scooter on the road. 

The current electric scooter trial areas are:

  • Bournemouth and Poole
  • Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury, High Wycombe, and Princes Risborough)
  • Cambridge
  • Liverpool
  • Milton Keynes
  • Norwich
  • Portsmouth
  • Slough
  • South Somerset (Yeovil)
  • Sunderland
  • West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, and Sandwell)
  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Copeland (Whitehaven)
  • Derby
  • Essex (Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, and Colchester)
  • Gloucestershire (Cheltenham and Gloucester)
  • Great Yarmouth
  • London (participating boroughs)
  • Newcastle
  • North and West Northamptonshire (Northampton, Kettering, Corby, and Wellingborough)
  • North Devon (Barnstaple)
  • North Lincolnshire (Scunthorpe)
  • Nottingham
  • Oxfordshire (Oxford)
  • Redditch
  • Salford
  • Solent (Isle of Wight and Southampton)
  • Somerset West (Taunton and Minehead)
  • Tees Valley (Hartlepool and Middlesbrough)
  • West of England Combined Authority (Bristol and Bath)
  • York

Private electric scooters – Electric scooter UK law change

The government is looking into legalising electric scooters. Key questions are:

  • Should they be treated like e-bikes?
  • What should the maximum speed be?
  • What should the maximum motor power be?
  • Is a handlebar compulsory?
  • Should e-scooters be allowed in cycle lanes?
  • What about braking distances and lights
  • Should users need to register their e-scooter?
  • Should users have a license?
  • minimum age restrictions?

In a recent government consultation, the general view was to legally treat them like electric bikes. 

There was support for legalisation and an overwhelming view that clear regulations are needed.

Definition of an electric scooter

These were the criteria the government used to legalise the rental electric scooters in the trials – this is a reasonable starting point for what may be the electric scooter law, but could be amended in some way:

  • A single electric motor with a maximum continuous power rating of 500W
  • No pedals that can propel the scooter
  • Designed to carry only one person
  • A maximum speed of 15.5mph
  • 2 wheels, 1 front and 1 rear, aligned along the direction of travel
  • Weight less than 55kg A mass including the battery, but excluding the rider
  • Directional control via handlebars mechanically linked to the steered wheel
  • Has a way to control the speed via hand controls and power control that defaults to the ‘off’ position.
  • Seats ARE allowed.
  • A white front and rear red position lamp

Approved rental scooters in the trial areas are already legal on public roads. As long as you have a driving license.

When private scooters are legalised is up to the government. Which has said it wants to enact legislation in the current Parliamentary session, so before spring 2023.

This was announced in October before Rishi Sunak became PM, and he hasn’t made any commitment either way yet about the electric scooter law. 

We are hoping to see an Electric scooter UK law change in 2023.