After years of lagging behind other countries, the UK has finally made electric scooters legal for road us, but with some strict limitations.
Up until now electric scooters have not been legal for use on the road or pavements, with riders facing fines and penalties on their driving licence if caught. While many other countries allow these convenient personal electric scooters, the UK has resisted legalisation.
Coronavirus has changed all that. To maintain social distancing on public transport, the government has had to consider a wide range of alternative options to enable people to get to work as lockdown is lifted. As well as encouraging more cycling and walking, this has included fast-track legislation to allow people to use electric scooters.
However, only e-scooters provided by rental schemes will be allowed, so don’t rush off to Halfords just yet, because privately owned electric scooters are still illegal.
The rules also state that you must have a driving licence in order to ride an e-scooter on the road, which seems overly-restrictive given that you can ride a much faster e-bike with no licence. The scooters will be limited to 15mph – the same maximum speed allowed for e-bikes (although, of course, on an e-bike you can travel as fast as you like by pedal power so long as the motor stops assisting you above 15mph).
This seems like a step in the right direction, and is part of a 12 month trial to allow local authorities to asses the viability and impact of e-scooters. Hopefully it will be a success and soon private scooters will also be legal to ride on the roads, as they provide a convenient and low-cost way for commuters to travel around cities.