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Advice on on the use of privately owned e-scooters

E-scooters, sometimes called electric scooters, are growing in popularity and use. Did you know you can only ride them on private land where you have the land owner’s permission, or on public roads and in cycle lanes where there is an approved government rental trial?

With more and more being used on public land, make sure you know where you can use one or you may find yourself committing an offense under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and, if ridden on the pavement, the Highway Act 1835.

E-scooters are classed as powered transporters and fall within the legal definition of a motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act 1998. This means that the same rules that apply to motor vehicles, apply to e-scooters. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Driving with a licence
  • Driving/riding with insurance
  • Driving/riding other than on a road
  • Need to be taxed

It is not currently possible to get appropriate insurance for privately owned e-scooters, meaning it is illegal to use them on the road or public spaces.

What you need to know:

Legal use:

  • The only place you can ride a privately owned e-scooter is on private land with the landowner’s permission.
  • It is against the law to ride an e-scooter on any public land. This includes pavement’s, cycle lanes, beach promenades, bridleways, or any publicly accessible land such as parks and car parks.

Enforcement regarding private e-scooters

  • An e-scooter is classed as a powered transporter and they are treated as a motor vehicle and fall under the Road Traffic Act 1988. They are subject to the same legal requirements as motor vehicles. This includes MOT, tax, licensing, insurance, and specific construction regulations.
  • If you are caught using a powered transporter (e-scooter) on a public road, pavement, or other prohibited space you are committing a criminal offence and could be prosecuted.

Riding behaviour and safety

There are other offences that you could find yourself committing:

  • Riding on a footway
  • Using a mobile phone
  • Riding through red lights
  • Drink driving offences

We would always recommend that you wear appropriate safety protection such as a helmet when riding an e-scooter.

Government trials

Remember, you can only legally ride an e-scooter on public land as part of a government trial using an e-scooter provided as part of the trial. You can find out more about locations and how to rent on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-scooter-trials-guidance-for-users

You can also find out more local information about the trials taking part within BCP Council

You can find out more about e-scooters and powered transporters here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/powered-transporters/information-sheet-guidance-on-powered-transporters

Electric scooter