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Warning over electric scooter fines

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Drivers who ride privately-owned e-scooters on public roads could risk losing their driving licence.

According to Google Trends data, there has been a surge in interest in electric scooters since the start of lockdown – with a 376% increase in searches.

E-Scooters are freely available to buy in the UK but can only be ridden on private land with the permission of the landowner.

Fines and penalty points

But the rules around this mode of transport are complicated and electric scooter riders risk a £300 fine and six penalty points on their driving licence for using a private e-scooter on public roads, cycle lanes or pavements.

Your car insurance premiums could rise in the future as a result of the conviction and the police could confiscate your scooter.

The consequences are even more severe for newly qualified drivers who are only allowed six points on their licence 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.

Rented e-scooters are permitted

The government started limited, legal trials of rented electric scooters on public roads, cycle paths and lanes on 4 July.

The move was part of its review of transport following the easing of lockdown.

During the year-long trial e-scooters will be classified as motor vehicles and people will need a driving licence and insurance to ride one. Use of the rental scooters will be legal and insurance will be provided by the rental provider.

However, it’s still illegal to ride your own electric scooter on a public road.

Lee Griffin, CEO of GoCompare Car Insurance, said: “Privately-owned e-scooters are currently banned from use on the public highway but, this doesn’t seem to be deterring people from using them.

“We’re concerned that following government advice to avoid public transport because of the pandemic, more people will buy an e-scooter to use for short journeys, without perhaps realising that they can only use them on private land. There’s also the potential for people to be confused by the government’s rental trials into thinking that privately-owned electric scooters are now road-legal, when this isn’t the case.”

Unlike electric bikes, e-scooters are classified as “personal light electric vehicles” and are subject to the same legal requirements as cars – including technical safety standards, road tax, and insurance.

Private electric scooters currently on the market don’t meet these requirements so, can’t be used legally on the road.