electric scooters for adults and kids – are they legal? POSTED ON 01/08/2018
At Micro we are passionate about getting around in ways that are better for you, the environment and your pocket. It is why we continue to develop a range of Micro Scooters that allow you to get as much use out of your scooter as you can.
Designed to make the most of urban environments, electric scooters have seen a recent rise in popularity with both adults and children.
So, where are you ‘allowed’ to ride an electric scooter in the UK?
It is a question that we get asked from time to time and so here is the low down on the legality of riding an adult electric scooter and a kids electric scooter.
Ultimately, because electric scooters are part powered by a motor (albeit battery powered) it must comply with the relevant Highways Act.
This Act in the UK is currently based on a set of laws originally written in 1835 so there’s more information about horse and carts than there is electric scooters! Great if you are wondering where you should park your carriage…. But not if you’re wondering where you can ride your scooter. It seems that the part about pavement use has never been updated. Brilliant in terms of consistency, but not so good if you’re choosing to leave the car at home in favour of the scooter.
Electric scooters are categorised as a ‘Personal Light Electric Vehicle’ (PLEV for short). As they fall within the PLEV category they are governed by the aforementioned (and rather outdated) law which currently states that they are best used on private land in the UK (with permission naturally). The old Highways Act simply cannot place them into an existing category (because they don’t have pedals) so the law chooses not to place them in a category at all. Which we feel is possibly a little short-sighted <sigh>.
Can electric scooters be ridden in cycle lanes?
Unfortunately not. Because electric scooters are motorised but do not have pedals they are currently considered illegal for use on cycle lanes.
However, if you are riding an electric scooter in a cycle lane responsibly and with consideration for others we think it’s unlikely that the police would be concerned by this.
Can electric scooters be ridden on the road?
Electric scooters cannot be used on the road in the UK and we would advise against this. Motorists are not expecting to see you in and amongst traffic and you’ll be difficult to spot given your relative size. Because of the size of your wheels, they’re more likely to catch on drain covers and pot holes, which can suddenly skew your course or even cause you to fall over.
Can electric scooters be ridden on a pavement?
Because electric scooters are motorised you cannot use them on a pavement. This goes back to the UKs Highways Act of 1835 which prohibits any ‘carriage’ to be used on the pavement.
Why is the UK so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to electric scooting?
In France you can ride an electric scooter in cycle lanes and on the pavement, providing you keep to a set speed limit. In Germany electric scooter use on pavements is legal up to 6 kph. Austria and Switzerland it is fine to ride your scooter in cycle lanes and on roads up to 25 kph. In California PLEVs are recognised as a legal way to get around as long as the rider is over 16 and wears a helmet (which we think is really rather sensible).
We are not entirely sure why the UK has yet to embrace the laws that other countries are adopting. With the shift to become more environmentally aware and the introduction of electric vehicles on the road then surely a change cannot be far off?
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