Off you Scoot?!

Man riding an electric scooter

Electric scooters are everywhere now and even more so after an upsurge in sales during Christmas 2021. They’re viewed as an easy to use, convenient, and eco-friendly mode of transport, so it’s no surprise sales are going through the roof.  

In 2020 alone, national retailers suggested increased sales figures of just under 200%. You’ll have probably seen one or two shops on the highstreet selling them, whilst your favourite middle aisle deals in the supermarkets saw them sell fast.

They are literally being ridden by citizens young and old, everywhere in the UK and on all sorts of paths, parks and roads. And therein lies the issues that are arising and fast becoming the favourite fodder of journalists, and readers writing in to share their views. 

Sadly, it’s not that simple. 

When not breaching covid rules, the UK Government are currently trialling schemes and initiatives to determine the positive & negative impact of e-scooters on public roads and where the law should stand regarding them. 

But as matters stand there are no specific laws for e-scooters. Currently they are viewed as ‘powered transporters’ and subject to the same law and regulation as other motor vehicles, under the Road Traffic Act 1988. 

This means they should be taxed and have a valid MOT and insurance before use on a public road. Users should also have a Category Q entitlement on their drivers licence. Try telling that to my 7 year old nephew and his friends!

What really does it mean for the user? 

It means you can ride an e-scooter on privately owned land with the land owner’s permission. At present it is illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter on a public road, pavement or cycle path (without meeting the aforementioned conditions).

Yes, believe it or not, as matters currently stand, if you are caught using a privately-owned e-scooter on public land, you are liable to receive a £300 fine, 6 penalty points on your licence, and there is also the possibility of having your e-scooter seized. 

In London last year around 1,000 privately owned e-scooters were seized by the police. It may be that in most places across the UK a blind eye is currently being turned, but the risk of penalty is very real. 

Even with a ’street legal’ e-scooter you are still subject to the rules of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which means running red lights, driving on pavements, using a phone while scooting and drink driving are all punishable offences and ones that could see you lose your licence. 

With the increase in the number of accidents and incidents involving e-scooters you can understand why some real thought, and thereafter regulation, is necessary in terms of their use. 

Hopefully, with the current trial period ending in 2022 we won’t have much more of a wait until the situation pertaining to their use is much clearer. 

One thing that’s for sure with the increasing popularity of e-scooters is that they are here to stay. Their sales and press coverage certainly indicate that.

Remember, if the worst happens, we are here to help make sense of the situation and ensure you get the best outcome. Before you say anything, contact us for advice! 

Additional resources


UK Government

The information contained in this blog does not constitute legal advice and should not be acted on as such. This content is based on our understanding in January 2022. Road Traffic Defence are not liable for the information contained on any third-party websites which may be linked to this blog.