Do You Need a License for an Electric Scooter?

Posted On November 29, 2019 By Amit Parmar

New modes of transportation such as electric scooters are swiftly on the ride, thanks to rapidly growing technology. This range of vehicles make it easier to get around especially shorter distances without spending an arm and leg on fuel costs. But this range of vehicles isn’t just cost efficient in terms of fuel costs, they are also environmentally friendly as they greatly reduce the rate of carbon emission.

However, before heading down to your nearest electric scooter UK showroom, you may have several questions, most notably if you need a license to ride an electric scooter on UK roads or if you can only ride in private places. Most existing pertaining to fuel free vehicles are mostly pertain to traditional non-powered bicycles, but here’s the lowdown on UK license requirements and laws pertaining to electric scooters.

What Exactly is an Electric Scooter?

The first electric scooter was created in 1985, but didn’t go mainstream until a couple years ago. They offer similar functionality as a manual scooter, with the most noteworthy difference being that they are propelled by a motor.

Adding to this, they showcase a much more compact footprint compared to other forms of powered transport, which makes them a bit more fragile compared to other forms of powered vehicles. Their fragility is one of the biggest reasons why today there are some rules on place to regulate their use.

Electric Scooter Rules UK Explained

Electric scooters or other power motor driven vehicles are classified as PLEVs (Personal Light Electric Vehicles), and are not subject to taxes and registration. However, on the downside, they are not legal for use except for private land in the UK.

This ruling seems slightly absurd especially considering that electric scooters can travel only a bit faster than non-electric scooters – the ones generally used by kids to travel to travel back and forth to school and some adults to on their daily commute.

What makes them illegal for use on cycle lanes and pavements is that they are motorized and are not equipped with pedals, and illegal to be used on the road because they are low powered vehicles. However, it is highly unlikely that you will be pulled over when riding your electric scooter if you show respect to road users and pedestrians, but it can happen!

With regards to what will happen or the penalties revolving electric scooter riding on public roads, the rules aren’t clear, but reports in the national news did indicate that Metropolitan Police were seizing electric scooters, and dishing out warnings and fines to those riding them.

In terms of numbers, out of a 100 people pulled over in MET’s fist operation targeting electric scooters, a meager 10 were seized and fined only because they were acting irresponsibly such as breaking red lights or speeding. According to the Department of Transport, the UK currently has no plans to amend electric scooter laws, but is conducting a Future of Mobility review to determine how electric scooters UK and other new types of vehicles will change the way people move around cities.

But this is not the case in other European countries such as France, where electric scooters can go up to 25 km/hour in a cycle lane, whereas they can be used on the road in Austria and Switzerland. A PLEV in Germany and France can also go up to 6 km/hour on the pavement.

Should you buy an electric scooter? Electric scooters are a lot of fun even when used on private property. You can use them on UK roads albeit at your own risk, but be sure to obey traffic laws in your area, be conscious of pedestrians and use bike lanes and avoid sidewalks.

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