Electric scooters, or e-scooters as they’re commonly known, are becoming increasingly popular modes of transport in many parts of the UK.
Dubbed as a ‘must-have’ gift, reports show that more than one million private e-scooters were sold in the run-up to Christmas 2021 alone.
But a spate of crashes, injuries and fatalities has brought attention to e-scooters for all the wrong reasons.
Between January and June 2021, 258 collisions were recorded, compared with 266 in the whole of 2020. During 2019 there were 38 incidents, while there was only 9 in 2018.
According to Scotland Yard, thousands of e-scooters have been seized by police for being driven illegally on public roads while 3 riders have died in crashes and at least 291 Londoners have been injured. The police have issued a warning that more could follow.
In today’s blog, Annabelle Turner, a specialist personal injury solicitor from our Swindon team, gives her advice on e-scooter safety to prevent people from being injured on our roads and clear up the confusion about using them legally.
What are the laws on driving a privately-owned e-scooter?
Privately-owned e-scooters can only be ridden on private land with the permission of the landowner. Many people are unaware that they can’t be used on public roads or pavements.
What happens if you don’t follow the rules?
If you use a private e-scooter in public areas, any of the following could apply:
- You could face a fine
- You could get penalty points on your licence
- Your e-scooter could be impounded
Do I need a driving licence to drive an e-scooter?
Yes, you need a full or provisional UK licence that includes the category Q entitlement to drive an e-scooter.
If you drive a rental scooter without the correct licence, you could be issued a penalty of up to £100 and up to six penalty points.
How do the rental schemes work?
Trials of rental e-scooters are taking place in many UK towns and cities. Under these schemes, you can legally ride an e-scooter on public roads under the following conditions:
- E-scooters can only be used in approved areas – on the road and in cycle lanes but not on motorways or pavements
- You must comply with the relevant road traffic legislation
- The maximum speed for an e-scooter is 15.5mph
- You must be at least 16 years old
Is insurance necessary?
E-scooters must have motor insurance, but your rental operator will provide this.
Top 10 safety tips for e-scooter users
“E-scooters are a great way to get around if you use them safely – they’re convenient, easy to use and kinder to the environment. But many people buy private e-scooters without realising that it’s against the law to ride them on public roads,” warns Annabelle Turner, our specialist personal injury solicitor.
“If you want to ride an e-scooter, it’s safer to use a trial rental scheme and follow our top 10 tips below to stay on the right side of the law.”
- Familiarise yourself with the terms of the rental company and sign up for the scheme properly before setting off.
- Only ride in approved areas.
- Stick to one person per e-scooter.
- Avoid towing anything behind your e-scooter.
- Minimise the number of items you carry and never hang things from the handlebars.
- Never use a mobile phone – it’s unsafe, and you could receive a £100 fine and up to 6 penalty points.
- You’re allowed to use a screen to display navigation information but set it up before you start riding.
- Wear a cycle helmet that fits and conforms with the current regulations.
- Wear hi-visibility clothing so other road users can see you, especially in the dark.
- Never ride an e-scooter if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs – you can be prosecuted under drink or drug driving laws.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a electric scooter accident that wasn’t your fault, our expert solicitors are here to help. To find out if you can make a compensation claim, contact us on Freephone 0800 884 0777, email email@example.com or complete our online form for a free, no-obligation chat.