Are electric scooters legal in the UK?

Everything you need to know about e-scooters

New legislation came into force on the 4th of July 2020. The Department for Transport (DfT) is trialling the use of electronic scooters (also known as e-scooters) for the next 12 months across the UK. However, there are strict limitations in place.

Electric scooters are touted to become an essential form of travel very shortly. So, here is everything you need to know about e-scooters and what to expect from e-scooter insurance.

Are electric scooters legal in the UK?

Why are the government trialling electric scooters?

The trial of rental e-scooters is to review the real-life potential for this ‘greener’ method of travel. The Department for Transport is encouraging the use of e-scooters for fast, clean, environmentally efficient journeys. 

Moreover, it can help ease the current burden on public transport networks and facilitate continued social distancing.

What are the road requirements for driving an e-scooter?

From July 4th 2020 it is legal to ride an e-scooter under strict limitations.

If you are hiring a scooter, then you can use it on:

  • Public roads
  • Cycle paths
  • Cycle lanes

However, if you own an electric scooter, then it is illegal to ride anywhere except private land. To use an electric scooter on private land, you must also have express permission from the landowner.

It may seem like an odd system; however, enabling rental scooters to have more freedom has a purpose. 

Restricting the use of privately owned e-scooters prevents a flood of potentially low-quality or dangerous electronic scooters on the road.

The other conditions for riding an e-scooter are:

  • No riding on pavements
  • The rider must be aged 16 years or over
  • The rider must hold a provisional or full UK licence
  • The e-scooter must only carry one person
  • The scooter must not exceed 15.5mph
  • Wearing a helmet is not mandatory but we strongly recommend it
  • The power mechanism must default to ‘off’ when released for safety reasons

What is the road classification of an e-scooter?

An electric scooter is a Personal Light Electric Vehicle or PLEV. It is the same category that also includes cars and motorbikes. This also means that, like all other personal light electric vehicles, an e-scooter requires:

  • Licensing
  • Taxing
  • An MOT
  • Signalling ability
  • Number plates
  • Visible rear red lights
  • They must also meet minimum construction requirements before being road legal

Are e-scooters legal everywhere in the UK?

From July 4th 2020, you can ride an e-scooter on public roads, cycle paths and lanes (for hire scooters) or permitted private land (for privately owned scooters).

If the police stop you for contravening these rules, then you could receive a £300 fixed penalty notice, plus 6 points on your licence (if you have one). If you are riding without an appropriate licence or insurance, then the penalty will be more severe.  

What will happen following the end of the e-scooter trial?

The trial is expected to run for 12 months. If the government is happy with the results, then it is likely that further scooter permissions will be rolled out nationwide.

What about electric scooter insurance? Will it be the same as bicycle insurance?

In many ways, it will be similar. You will be able to take out Public Liability, Personal Accident cover and protection against theft and loss. However, this may change after the trial if adjustments are implemented across the UK.

Previously there has been little incentive for insurance companies to offer e-scooter insurance, but this will likely change in the coming months.

Hire companies must provide insurance cover under government rules for the trial. You must be clear about the type of cover you have before you hire an e-scooter and what actions will void your insurance.

Does my home insurance cover my electric scooter?

Although you cannot go out and about everywhere on your private e-scooter yet, it does not mean you cannot buy one.

So, for now, your e-scooter is covered by your home insurance. Nevertheless, as you would expect, it only applies if damage or loss occurs when your electric scooter is at home. 

If you were to ride it in a public place, it would no longer be covered. So, following the trial, if legislation is changed again, it will be essential to have specialist electric scooter insurance to guarantee adequate cover.

Who is liable for costs if an uninsured e-scooter damages my car?

If an uninsured e-scooter damages your vehicle, do not panic! Much like having an incident with a bicycle or uninsured third-party vehicle, you have options.

You can either claim via your vehicle insurance and leave the recovery of losses to your insurers. Alternatively, you can approach the Motor Insurance Bureau under their uninsured driver’s scheme.

How do I claim for personal injury against the rider of an e-scooter?

Again, as an e-scooter is classified as a motorised vehicle (class PLEV), you may be eligible to claim for personal injury via the Motor Insurance Bureau.

Uninsured drivers are a massive burden for UK road users. You may be inclined to overlook a discretion as you fear the hassle of claiming against someone without insurance may be too much. We always recommend speaking to an expert to see if you can recover the compensation you are due.

What should I do if I am involved in a collision with an e-scooter?

If you have been involved in a collision with an e-scooter, try to remain calm and collected.

You should gather as much information as possible to evidence your claim. This includes:

  • The other party’s full contact details, phone number and address
  • The registration number of the e-scooter
  • Specifics of whether the scooter is privately owned or hired
  • Particulars of the insurance cover in place for the scooter

You should also gather information from any witnesses and take photographs where applicable.

Can I claim for my vehicle damage against an uninsured electronic scooter rider?

If you have fully comprehensive car insurance, you can claim through your insurance provider. However, if you are involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, your provider will not be able to recover costs from the other side. Therefore, the resulting claims process will be trickier to resolve than a standard claim.

If you only have a third party, or third-party fire and theft cover, you can not claim for accidental damage through your insurer. However, you could attempt to claim compensation through the MIB. Again, the process is a slow one – it can take over a year to resolve, and it can be a complicated process. We recommend seeking legal advice to aid you with the procedure.

You should also be aware that if the accident is your fault, you will still be responsible for repair costs to their vehicle, even if the other party is uninsured.

Key Takeaway

Any new legislation that improves eco-friendly living is a positive step. However, with change comes lots of questions and uncertainty.

Have you been involved in a collision with an e-scooter? Have the police sanctioned you for riding in contravention with the current laws? Do you have questions about whether your insurance should cover you for an e-scooter incident? Whatever your query – we have the answers for you! Contact one of our solicitors today!

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