Electric Scooters in the UK: A Comprehensive Look at Legal Standpoints

The transport industry is always evolving and e-scooters mark the next step in mainstream sustainable travel. This new craze has swept across the UK and other countries, with 77 million riders recorded worldwide and an expectation of over 110 million in 2025.

While this has opened so many more opportunities for travel, the legal background of e-scooters is changing and there have been many questions raised about public safety and legislation.

It is illegal in the UK to use a privately owned electric scooter on public roads, pavements, and cycle lanes. It is, however, legal to buy, sell and own an e-scooter and it can be used on private land with the permission of the landowner.

E-Scooter safety concerns

E-scooters are classified as powered transporters and fall under the same regulations that all motor vehicles are subjected to. This is in the interest of public safety since there were 421 people seriously injured and 1,003 slightly injured recorded in 2021.

You can get up to speeds of 15 to 20 miles per hour, so if you take a tumble or get into a collision, you could get seriously injured.

Research shows that anti-social behaviour is another rising safety concern regarding electric scooters. Respondents stress that common issues were riders going too fast (77%), performing dangerous tricks (32%) and devices being used on pavements (86%).

If you have suffered an accident involving an e-scooter, you can use a claims calculator to see how much compensation you could be entitled to.

Changes on the horizon

The government is currently reviewing options for electric scooter regulations, and it could lead to new rules where e-scooters are sold to meet certain safety standards.

There is already one change coming. From December 2023, it is now a requirement that new and existing drivers give their name, driving license number and photo of their driving license. Plans are also in place to regulate the maximum speed, power, lights and registration.

Further trials are taking place to determine parking incentives, penalties and the use of helmets. It also aims to crack down on illegal e-scooter use and any antisocial behaviour. That being said, there are no near-future movements to legalise the use of electric scooters on public roads.

Current safety rules

Safety is the top priority when using an e-scooter, so riders need to be aware of how to protect themselves and the public. Wearing a helmet is not a legal requirement but it is definitely a wise move. It’s also essential to keep in mind that e-scooters are designed for one person, so it is not safe to carry more than a single passenger at a time.

The wheels and handlebar must stay in alignment when riding so you need to ensure that the bolts on the stem are tight so you can remain in control of your scooter.