Electric scooters could soon be road-legal in UK for first time

Britain may follow Europe and the US by relaxing e-scooter laws

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 28 January 2020 19:11 GMT
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An archaic law means electric scooters are illegal to ride on UK streets and pavements
An archaic law means electric scooters are illegal to ride on UK streets and pavements (Getty)

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Electric scooters are expected to be be legalised on roads and cycle lanes in the UK for the first time, it has been reported.

Trials in cities around the country could take place within the next few months, according to The Times, which reported that ministers would meet in February to decide next steps.

Electric scooters are illegal on UK roads due to the 1988 Road Traffic Act, while the 1835 Highway Act has also been interpreted as banning them from being ridden on pavements.

Despite riders facing fines or penalty points on their driving licence they have become an increasingly common sight on UK streets in recent years.

Calls for police to crackdown on scooters intensified last year, after YouTube star Emily Hartridge became the first electric scooter fatality in the UK.

“Safety is at the heart of our road laws, and people who use e-scooters need to be aware it is currently illegal to ride them on the road and the pavement,” a Department for Transport spokesperson said.

“The government is considering the use of e-scooters and e-skateboards as part of a regulatory review, as announced in March.”

Electric scooters have proved popular but controversial in other European cities, with some residents claiming they pose a threat to the safety of pedestrians.

There have been several deaths in France, including a 30-year-old man who was killed while reportedly riding an electric scooter in the fast lane of a motorway.

Last year, electric scooter companies in Paris were forced to introduce speed inhibitors that limit their speed to 20kph, while also preventing them from travelling over 5kph in certain areas.

It is likely they will face similar restrictions in the UK, while questions will also be raised over whether riders need to wear helmets.

“We are considering this closely,” said UK transport minister George Freeman. “The Department for Transport is committed to encouraging innovation in transport as well as improving road safety.”

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