Think you’ve found the perfect gift in an e-scooter this Christmas? Unless you have access to private land, you might have to think again.
We know that it can be tempting to buy an e-scooter, particularly with Christmas around the corner. But whether it’s for yourself or someone else, it’s important to know the law when it comes to owning them and where and how you can use them.
E-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), which means that they’re not toys, and are treated as motor vehicles under the Road Traffic Act 1988. They are subject to the same legal requirements as a car or a van, such as:
Currently, you cannot get insurance for privately owned e-scooters, which means it is illegal to use them on the road, on the pavement or in public spaces, such as a park. If you're using a private e-scooter on public land you not only risk the vehicle being seized but potentially further consequences.
Inspector Leighton Healan, from our Roads Policing and Specialist Operations (RPSO) team, said:
“E-scooters are not toys and while it might be tempting to buy them as a Christmas present or take advantage of the upcoming sales for yourself make sure you do your research and understand the laws around their use.
“Not only are they illegal to ride in a public space, which can carry penalty points and fixed penalty notices, it can be dangerous – carrying a risk to the rider’s and others safety.
“If you're under 16 and caught riding one of these scooters in a public space, you could be affected when it comes to applying for a driving licence in the future. Not only that, if you’re involved in a collision, your parents could be prosecuted too.
“E-scooters are allowed to be used on private land, with the landowner permission, but it’s vitally important that you wear the recommended safety protection when riding to keep yourself safe.”
Penalties and offences
There can be serious implications for people caught riding an e-scooter illegally.
If you don’t have a licence, or the correct licence, or you’re riding without insurance, you could receive a fixed penalty notice:
with a £300 fine and six penalty points on your licence for having no insurance
up to a £100 fine and three to six penalty points for riding without the correct licence.
If the rider is too young to hold a licence at the time of the offence, the points will be added to their licence when they apply for one in the future.
You could also be committing an offence if you’re caught:
riding on a pavement; fixed penalty notice and potentially a £50 fine
using a mobile phone or other handled mobile device while riding; a £200 fine and six penalty points
riding through red lights; a fixed penalty notice, a £100 fine, and potentially penalty points
riding under the influence; the same as if you were driving a car, you could face court-imposed fines, a driving ban, and imprisonment.
If you’re using an e-scooter in an anti-social manner in public, even with the correct insurance and licence, you risk the scooter being seized under section 59 of the Police Reform Act.
When riding an e-scooter, we would always recommend wearing safety protection such as a helmet.