Where can you ride an electric scooter?
Electric Scooters are classed as motor vehicles for the purposes of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means that you require insurance to ride them on the road or in a public place. If you don’t have insurance, you will be committing an offence of using a motor vehicle without insurance.
The requirement to hold insurance applies whether you are riding on the road or other public place – which includes on the pavement.
The problem is that adequate insurance is not available for privately owned e-scooters. The councils across the country which are trialling the use of hired electric scooters do provide insurance. This means that it is permitted to ride the scooters involved in those trials, provided you do so within the rules.
It is the lack of insurance available that makes riding a privately owned scooter illegal. If you are caught riding them on a road or public place without insurance, you face a minimum of 6 penalty points on your driving licence.
How can riding an electric scooter affect my driving licence?
Because an e-scooter is classed as a motor vehicle, you can receive penalty points for offences just as you can if you are driving a car or motorbike. You can also be disqualified from driving if you are, for example, caught drink driving (or drink riding) on an e-scooter.
This may seem unfair but it is becoming increasingly more common. We have represented scooter riders facing no insurance offences and drink driving offences.
What if I don’t have a driving licence?
Even if you don’t have a licence, you can receive penalty points or be disqualified. DVLA will create a record for you and any convictions will be endorsed on that record. Many council schemes require you to hold at least a provisional licence before hiring a scooter.
What about e-bikes?
These are treated differently from e-scooters because there is legislation that exempts them as motor vehicles. You are therefore not required to hold insurance to ride them. The existence of working pedals to drive them forward is what makes them different.
Can you ride an electric scooter on the pavement?
No, they should be ridden on the road. The same goes for bikes, whether electric or not. Whether the police will enforce this rule is a different matter.