Not a lot of people know whether escooters are legal to ride on roads. They are perfectly legal to own but riding them is a different matter entirely. This article takes a close look at whether escooters are legal and what the Department for Transport has planned.

At the time of writing (April 2020) escooters are not yet legal to use on public roads or pavements. In fact, according to the 1988 Road Traffic Act, electric scooters cannot be ridden on UK roads. In addition to this, when interpreting the 1835 Highway Act we can see that they should not be ridden on pavements.

Changing the Legality

The great news is the Department of Transport has decided the take the next steps. Ministers were scheduled to meet up in early February 2020 to discuss the issue. However, nothing has been reported as yet. This does not mean they are not planning to allow escooters on pavements or roads. It might simply mean they’ve put their plans on hold for now.

Even though escooters are not allowed on roads or pavements, we have seen an increasing number of them over the years. More and more people are realising how useful they are at getting you from A to B. In addition to this, escooters are also more environmentally friendly than many other forms of transportation. This means if you want to have a positive impact on the environment you could opt to travel by escooter.

Escooters in Europe

Escooters have proved to be somewhat controversial in France and other European countries. For example, one gentleman was killed when he decided to ride his escooter on a French motorway. Escooters have been designed to help you get to where you need to be. However, they are not meant to be used on motorways or anywhere where traffic can reach high speeds. Instead, they are meant as a leisurely means of travel and are ideal for short trips on quiet roads or pavements.

Escooters and Their Speed

Parisian escooter companies have had to inhibit how fast people travel. Speed limits were set to 20 kph (12.4 mph) in some parts of the city. Other areas had a 5kph (3.1 mph) restriction. While these speeds are by no means very fast, they can help to prevent accidents.

No manufacturer of escooters wants its customers to be involved in accidents. This is why they ask them to ride safely at all times. While some escooters can potentially travel up to 30 miles per hour, being sensible and driving safely is the best option.

Escooters in the UK

If and when the Department of Transport and ministers give the go-ahead for us to ride escooters wherever we please, chances are there will be some restrictions. The UK is likely to bring out speed limits that must be adhered to by law. Speed limits for riding on the pavement are likely to be different to riding on the road.
There might also be questions raised about whether riders should wear helmets. Other similar modes of transportation such as mopeds and motorcycles require riders to wear helmets. It is, therefore, safe to say that anyone riding an escooter will have to wear a helmet at all times.

Escooters and Driving Tests

If escooters are to be allowed on British roads, chances are we’ll have to take a driving test. It is not yet clear if this is indeed the case but it is very likely. A driving test might be similar to a test taken by moped users but it’s still too early to say.

If a driving test is needed there might also be restrictions on who can ride an escooter on the road. Those who ride them on pavements might also find that they face a test before they get the all clear.

For now, all we have is conjecture. We don’t have a lot of information about what might happen. However, as more and more people are discovering how useful escooters can be, it’s likely change will be coming very soon. In addition to this, with added environmental benefits, travelling by escooter could soon be seen as the greener way to travel. Watch this space.