There’s a lot of confusion within the UK on current legislation towards electronic vehicles, mainly pertaining to e-scooters and e-bikes driving on the road.
E-Scooters have such a grey area on the legality of electric scooters. Can you ride them on the road? Can you ride them on motorways? Can I legally ride a privately-owned electric scooter?
The bottom line is if it’s not a rental electronic scooter then you cannot ride your privately owned-scooter anywhere in public. Only in private land with the land-owners express permission can you ride your personal electric scooter legally. This would be your own property, a holiday park that allows the use of scooters, etc.
People claim you can legalise your electric scooter through insurance and licensing, this is just simply not true and they are misinformed. The only insurance you can get for e-scooters only cover you for damages that happened within the current legislation. For example, an accident that may occur on your property.
There are punishments for being caught, these include fines, licence points and the scooter can be impounded. The impounded scooter can be collected, for a price. Although, from our own experiences we have noticed that it’s really up to the officer stopping you how severe they want the punishment to be. Sometimes you can be let off on your way and you can even keep the scooter as long as you’re not seen riding it on your way home.
We expect this to be changed shortly, as the law is very outdated and e-scooters can be dangerous without the correct legislation. A change needs to happen.
Rental Electric Scooters
Currently you can legally rent a scooter if you’re place of residence has been chosen as a trial area. There are around 30 towns/cities in England that offer these trial scooters. Your allowed a rental scooter on roads (excluding motorways) and cycle lanes unless it is specifically shown at the location in question that e-scooters are prohibited.
It is also not permitted to be ridden on pavements.
The rental scooters are covered by the providers insurance, so no need to worry there. But you must have Category Q entitlement on your driving license, this can be a full or provisional license for categories AM, A or B. You do not need to display L plates if you have at least a provisional. You can legally drive a rental scooter with a full EU or EEA driving license. EU full license from another country that entitles you to drive small vehicles and you entered the UK within the past 12 months. You cannot legally drive an electric scooter with any overseas provisional license, learners permit or equivalent certification.
While it’s not legally enforced, the gov’t and ourselves at EV-Tek highly recommend you wear a helmet while out on your travels. Make sure you have a helmet that is aligned with the regulations set out, it is the correct size and is correctly fastened.
Some form of bright clothing also never hurt. If you are driving a high powered scooter that’s reaching speeds of over 30mph+, we also highly recommend leathers to fully protect you from the worst case scenario.
Couple More Things…
There are a few more things to go through that pertain to the trial e-scooters but we would also like to add that these current laws will most likely be the same for privately used scooters when they are finally legalised.
It is currently not required to register, display registration or pay vehicle excise duty on electric scooters. But we expect this to change with the legalisation of private-owned scooters.
E-Scooters should used only one person at a time. It’s a great way to cut the life-span of your scooter in half. While there isn’t an immediate effect to overloading the scooter, it will degrade your scooter over time.
Mobile phone usage is prohibited while driving, but your display screen is permitted as long as everything has been set up before taking off.
Bags and small items should be under control and not be an immediate threat to the safety of you or others on the road. It’s specifically stated about letting things hang from handlebars on the gov current guidance.
Don’t ride while under the influence of any substances. The drink/drug driving laws for cars are the exact same for e-scooters, so you can be prosecuted under the same legislations as if you were drink/drug driving in a car.
The legislation on electric bikes is much more simple than the electric scooters convoluted attempt at regulation.
You can ride an electric bike at 14 years of age, provided the electric bike meets the other requirements we’re about to get into.
The legal, push-assist electric bikes are known as EAPCs (electrically assisted pedal cycles). You do not need a license to ride one, you also do not need registration, taxing or insurance.
What is an EAPC?
There are a few requirements for an electric bike to be a fully legal EAPC. It must show the power output or the manufacturer of the motor. It also must show the battery’s voltage or the max speed of the bike.
The maximum power of an EAPC should be 250w. A 250w motor in this context will normally give your bike around 15.5mph. An EAPC can have more than two wheels, like a tricycle.
If the bike meets EAPC regulations it is classed as a normal pedal bike and can be ridden on any cycle paths or anywhere else pedal bikes are permitted.
Don’t Worry If It’s Not EAPC (on the road)
If your electric bike does not meet EAPC requirements, it’s okay. You can still make it legal with different classification, it would be classed as motorcycle or moped and you would need to have it registered and taxed. Along with that you will need a driving license and a crash helmet at all times.
An electric must be type approved if it can be propelled without pedalled, for instance using a throttle. It also needs to be type approved if it does not meet the EAPC rules. This should have been done by the manufacturer or importer before you bought it. If it’s been type approved, it will have a plate showing its type approval number.