Are Electric Scooters Legal?

Electric scooters, or e-scooters, are an up-and-coming mode of transport, but there’s a lot of uncertainty around when and where they can legally be used. With government-backed rental trials taking place across the country, it seems a good time to recap the rules as they stand right now.

Are electric scooters legal in the UK?

Electric scooters are legal to own in the UK. However, there are lots of restrictions surrounding where they can be used.

Where can you ride electric scooters?

Currently, electric scooters can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission. It is effectively illegal to use them on public roads, on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas.

Why are electric scooters illegal on roads and pavements in the UK?

Electric scooters are currently classed as ‘powered transporters’ by the government and fall under the same laws and regulations that apply to all motor vehicles.

This means that it’s illegal to use them on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas, and it would only be legal to use them on public roads if they could meet the same requirements as motor vehicles (e.g., in terms of insurance, tax, licence, registration and vehicle construction), which in practice is virtually impossible.

The formulation of a law specifically covering electric scooters has been under discussion for some time. It looks like there may be some developments in this area in the near future, particularly with the rental trials currently taking place.

When will electric scooters be legal on UK roads and pavements?

Electric scooter rental trials have been underway in a number of areas across the UK since summer 2020. Local councils have been working with rental providers to test the viability of electric scooters as a safe and effective mode of transport.

On the 10th May 2022, plans to fully legalise e-scooters for private use were included in the Queen's Speech. The UK government is working through the details of the regulations required to enable the legalisation of private e-scooters on public land.

In the House of Lords on the 11th of May, Baroness Vere (Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Transport) said: “It is our intention that the [Transport] Bill will create a low-speed, zero-emission vehicle category that is independent from the cycle and motor vehicle categories. New powers would allow the Government to decide the vehicles that fall into this new category in future and how they should be regulated to make sure that they are safe to use. We hope that e-scooters will be the first of these vehicles.”

Until that time, customers should be aware that if they use a private e-scooter illegally, they could face a fine and penalty points on their licence, and the e-scooter could be impounded by the police.

While further details were expected in the King’s Speech in 2023, the Government has instead extended trials into 2026 while they work through the details of the regulations that will enable the e-scooter UK law change.

Where can you rent an electric scooter?

Many e-scooter rental trials are taking place across the country. You can find an up-to-date list of areas and more information about the rental schemes here.

You can find an up-to-date list of areas and more information about the rental schemes here.

Do you need a driver’s licence for an electric scooter?

Yes. If you want to rent an electric scooter through one of the schemes mentioned above, then you’ll need to hold a valid full or provisional driving licence that includes the ‘Q’ category entitlement. This category can be found on licences for categories AM, A or B.

Do you need insurance for an electric scooter?

Yes, but this will be provided by your electric scooter rental operator.