Owning and riding an electric scooter in the UK is perfectly legal, as long as you stay on private land and have the permission of the landowner. Riding escooters on public roads, cycle lanes or pavements is illegal – but that could all be about to change.
The Current Legal Position
The Future of Transport
Electric Scooter Road Trials
The main focus of the trials will be to consider any restrictions that should apply to these new technologies for them to operate safely alongside traditional vehicles on the UK streets. These trials are imminent, though the old legislation must be changed before the pilot schemes can begin. That process can take several months, so current estimates are that trials are scheduled to start in late 2020.
In the meantime, an unofficial UK trial has been taking place at the have been available for the public to hire since November 2018, which is possible (and legal) because the Olympic Park is technically privately owned property. The trial was initially due to run for a couple of months but has been extended twice, allowing tens of thousands of people the chance to travel by escooter and suggesting that the pilot scheme has been a popular success.
Regulations in Other Countries
The Time is Right
Regulation of electric scooters will encourage safe and responsible electric scooter usage. Until the legal position is clarified, there is no way to enforce minimum safety requirements and expected riding standards, so the sooner the government updates the current legislation to make escooters legal on public roads, the better for everyone.