When will electric scooters become legal in the UK?
In early 2020 it was declared by the UK Department for Transport that electric scooters will now be allowed on public roads for the first time. Although a common sight in many countries around the globe, electric scooters have not been legalised for use on UK roads, being deemed a potential hazard to both pedestrians and vehicles.
The legalisation of electric scooters is part of the UK Governments plan to revolutionise transport. The aim is to move towards a cleaner, more sustainable mode of transport and poses a range of benefits on otherwise crowded roads that we often see throughout London and many other areas of the UK.
As of May 2020, the use of electric scooters is limited to Portsmouth, Southampton, Derby, Nottingham, the West Midlands and Wales. On top of this, only rental scooters are allowed to be used, however, several reports have emerged of individuals using their personal scooters. Should the use of these alternative transport methods prove successful, they have the potential to completely overhaul how we use transport throughout the UK. As of currently, the speed of electric scooters is capped at 15.5mph and a provisional or full UK driver’s license is required for use on roads and pavements. On top of this, the user must have full insurance for the scooter and be aged 16 or over.
When it comes to safety, there is some confusion around wearing a helmet and additional protection. The latest Government guidelines state that it is recommended that individuals wear a helmet, however, this is not legally required. On top of this, additional protection that we often see on motorcyclists is also not required. It is predicted that the appropriate legislation will be created following the trial period, in which ministers will have a greater understanding of the danger hazards involved when using the electric scooter.
A Potential Future Mode of Transport?
Due to the current climate and social distancing measures, these scooters may actually provide individuals with the ability to travel to and from the workplace whilst maintaining a safe distance. Individuals using a scooter can avoid the risks of public transport altogether, as well as keep a safe distance throughout their commute. This will help to avoid mass build up on trains and busses, whilst also providing an eco-friendly mode of transport to and from the workplace.
In other countries throughout Europe, electronic scooters are commonly used by individuals through rental apps. Apps such as Lime, Bird, and even Uber have made the jump to these alternative travel methods. These companies have expressed their interest in developing their apps within the UK and have also presented the idea of using bike lanes for their scooters. Should a deal be reached between the UK Government and these companies, the use of the electric scooter could become a norm throughout society and a common method of transport within larger cities. In June 2020 the trial for electric scooters is set to be evaluated by the government and may be the first step for these vehicles being used in the UK.