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Call for e-scooters to be legalised

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

MPs have called on the government to legalise e-scooters so they can be used as a greener alternative to cars for short journeys.

Currently e-scooters are illegal on public roads, cycle paths and pavements and drivers face a £300 fine and six points on their licence, if caught.

But the transport select committee says e-scooters should be legalised on roads, although riding on pavements should be prohibited.

Huw Merriman MP, who chairs the committee, says: “The UK remains the last major European economy where e-scooters are still banned to use anywhere except on private land and their use on UK roads is currently illegal.

“E-scooters have the potential to become an exciting and ingenious way to navigate our streets and get from place to place. If this gets people out of the car, reducing congestion and exercising in the open air, then even better.”

The e-scooter has been one of the biggest lockdown trends in the UK, as people look for greener and more socially distanced alternatives to public transport.

However, despite their widespread user, the only e-scooters that can be legally used on public roads are those that are part of rental schemes in selected parts of the country. Insurance is provided by the rental provider.

GoCompare Car Insurance is warning that, in addition to a fine and six points on their licence, drivers who are caught illegally using an e-scooter on a public road face higher car insurance premiums, while the police also have the power to confiscate the scooter.

Lee Griffin, founder and CEO of GoCompare Car Insurance, says: “It is good to see a healthy debate about e-scooters taking place now. They are clearly becoming very popular, but at the moment we still don’t have a clear way forward for their legal use on public roads. There is a danger that because people see them being used illegally, or see people using them as part of the approved trials, that they assume it is fine to ride one themselves.

“Realistically, we are still likely to be a long way off having a proper legal framework for their private use on UK roads, and in the meantime, we need to ensure people understand the risks. As well as receiving an on-the-spot fine, drivers face having six penalty points added to their licence.

“Car insurers view drivers with a motoring conviction as a greater risk and increase premiums accordingly. The consequences are even more severe for newly qualified drivers who are only allowed to rack-up six points in the first two years of driving, so could end up losing their licence. To be allowed on the roads again, they must reapply for a provisional licence and re-take both the theory and practical parts of the driving test.”