Electronic scooters, more commonly known as e-scooters, are a form of ‘powered transporter’ which is a term used to cover a variety of novel and emerging personal transport devices powered by a motor. Other forms of powered transporters include Segways, hoverboards, go-peds (combustion engine-powered kick-scooters), powered unicycles, and u-wheels.
Given how powered transporters are motorised and designed, they fall within the legal definition of a ‘motor vehicle’, therefore laws that apply to motor vehicles also apply to powered transporters.
- on a public road without complying with a number of legal requirements including insurance; conformity with technical standards and standards of use; payment of vehicle tax, licensing, and registration; driver testing and licensing; and the use of relevant safety equipmen
- some of the same restrictions set out above apply to other spaces which are accessible to the public, such as car parks, public squares which are not restricted to pedestrian use, privately-owned roads, industrial estates, and university campuses
- in spaces set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders; this includes on pavements, in cycle lanes and on bridleways or restricted byways. On a pavement, there are special legal exceptions for mobility scooters and wheelchairs
Anyone who uses a powered transporter on a public road or other prohibited space in breach of the law is committing a criminal offence and can be prosecuted.
Penalties for illegal use:
- breaches of the law relating to motor vehicle use are generally criminal offences enforced by police
- the potential penalties depend on the nature and gravity of the offence, and sentences range from fines and penalty points, to disqualification from driving
- those using powered transporters dangerously or under the influence of drink or drugs can also be convicted of offences leading to imprisonment. Offences related to the standard of driving and speeding also apply
More information about the legal use of e-scooters can be found on the Government’s website.