What’s the deal with e-Scooters?
I had a weekend in Athens in 2019 and used rented e-scooters for the whole time I was there, and I have to say… I loved them. They were a great way to explore the city and get from A to B quickly and cost effectively and they were fun. However, I would also say based on my experience they can also be dangerous, especially if not ridden properly or with the right protection. I nearly came off at one point when I hit a large unseen pothole… it was definitely a ‘heart in mouth’ moment and could have easily resulted in a nasty accident… lucky for me it didn’t!
However, given the emphasise on reducing CO2 emissions across the world and in particular in big cities, there is no doubt that e-scooters will form part of the solution, providing a clean and inexpensive method of travel that can also help ease the burden on public transport networks. So, it is inevitable that they will become a popular mode of transport.
Are they legal in the UK?
Whilst their popularity has grown significantly over the past 12 months, it is important to note that it is still illegal to ride e-scooters on a UK public road, cycle lane or pavement. Anyone who does is committing an offence and can be fined and prosecuted accordingly. Fines and punishment can include:
- Fixed Penalty Notice for no insurance, with a £300 fine and six penalty points
- Fixed Penalty Notice for no driving licence, up to £1000 fine and three-six penalty points
- Riding on the footway: Fixed Penalty Notice and possible £50 fine
- Using a mobile phone: £100 and six penalty points
- Riding through red lights: Fixed Penalty Notice, £100 fine and possible penalty points
- Drink driving offences: As with driving cars; court-imposed fines, driving ban and possible imprisonment
There are a number of UK cities that have recently announced their intention to introduce new legislation to allow trials to take place of ‘rental’ e-scooters. As e-scooters come under the category of “powered transporters” they fall within the legal definition of a motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act 1988. Therefore, the rules that apply to motor vehicles, will also apply to e-scooters.
As a motor vehicle, they must comply with various road traffic laws and legislation, including but not limited to:
- driving with a licence
- driving/riding with insurance
- driving/riding other than on a road
- need to be taxed
Can you get insurance for e-scooters?
Yes, there are a number of insurers who currently offer cover for e-scooters. However, when looking at the terms of typical policies its hard to see exactly what benefit they may provide, except for theft from the home. For example, if you suffer an accident when out riding your e-scooter on a public road, footpath or cycle path, then it’s likely not to be covered because it’s against the law and as such could invalidate your cover. So, it is important to look at the terms and conditions of any such policies to see exactly what it does and does not cover.
We don’t currently cover e-scooters due to the fact they are still illegal in the UK. Once the law changes to allow personal e-scooters to be used on public roads and cycle paths then we will be amongst the first to look at offering specialist e-scooter cover.