/ Travel & Leisure

E-scooters: why are people ignoring the law?

Electric scooters are an increasingly common sight on city streets, but are they a good idea? And why are so many people ignoring the law around their use?

28/01/2020: Electric scooters could soon be legal

It looks as though electric scooters could soon be legal to use on Britain’s roads.

According to The Times, the government is planning to launch a consultation as soon as next month on how to regulate e-scooters.

As we discuss below, some have concerns about the safety and sustainability of e-scooters, so it’s good to see the government thinking about how to make sure e-scooters, which are seemingly here to stay, can be used as safely as possible.

The consultation, which transport minister George Freeman said would start “in due course”, is thought to be considering treating them like bicycles and allowing them on roads and cycle lanes, and to considering limiting their speed to 15.5mph.

Does this move change your mind about e-scooters? Let us know in the comments.

19/08/2019: Why are people ignoring the law?

There I was, walking along the pavement to my local station when suddenly I was broadsided by something moving at speed.

As I looked to see what had hit me, a woman in front of me staggered and nearly lost her balance as she was clipped by the same person on an electric scooter who ignored both of our shouts of rage as she sailed off along the pavement. 

Fortunately, neither of us were hurt, though we were both pretty annoyed. But other people have been injured, and even killed: YouTuber Emily Hartridge lost her life in July after a crash involving her e-scooter and a lorry in southwest London.

Just a few days later, a teenager suffered a serious head injury after an accident on an e-scooter.

If you’ve spent any time in a major city around the globe recently, you’ve probably seen people whizzing along on electric scooters, but they haven’t been welcome everywhere.

Are e-scooters legal in the UK?

Here in Britain, e-scooters are banned on both the roads and the pavements. This is because they’re classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), or ‘Powered Transporters‘.

So why are we seeing them? And are users being told about the legal position? 

Looking on websites of shops that sell e-scooters, most – but not all – do flag up that it’s illegal to ride them on the pavements and roads, although the warnings are sometimes placed at the bottom of the page and/or buried in text. 

Christian Payne told me via Twitter that when he bought his scooter, he was told very clearly what the legal position is:

He went on to make his own video that explained the law to others. So is the law being enforced?

A friend whose elderly father bought himself an e-scooter told me that he had chatted to several police officers while he was out and about on it and, not only did they not reprimand him for breaking the law, they told him that they didn’t have time for that sort of thing.

Are e-scooters sustainable?

There are also concerns about how environmentally-friendly they are. The ‘dockless’ rental schemes, where you can leave the scooter or bike anywhere you like rather than returning them to docking station, have sparked complaints as users carelessly leave them blocking pavements.

Meanwhile, the jury is out on their sustainability. While many argue that they’re much better than cars, others say that their short lifespan of just a few months and problems with how they’re disposed of undermine those advantages.

As you can probably tell, I’m not keen on them and won’t be buying one for myself any time soon, but it’s clear they are potentially useful for people with limited mobility. 

My view is that we need to get the infrastructure right so that we can use them safely and legally, and that we also need to make sure that they don’t develop faults or fall apart within a few months.

But what do you think? Are they an innovation we should embrace, or should they be banned? How could they be made safe and become a useful addition to our transport options? 

Comments

Putting the legalities aside for a moment, they are exactly what we need at the moment to ease congestion on roads and public transport. Zero-emission, low cost, low maintenance, convenient, practical, easy to store/commute with, great for those with limited fitness/mobility. This vitriol directed towards what is a simply a sustainable clean means of transport is laughable, you’d think people were riding around on nuclear warheads.

It is a completely irrational and disproportionate response to what is little more than an irritant, while the very real danger to life, limb, public health and the environment gets routinely ignored/excused/accepted.

It reminds me of a bunch of irate pensioners shaking their fists at skateboarders!

Despite the huge increase in popularity, there have been ZERO deaths or serious injuries to pedestrians caused by electric scooters. Yes, ZERO, none, zilch. Let’s compare that to the 28000 deaths and serious injuries PER YEAR caused by motorised vehicles. All this outrage about e-scooters on the pavement conveniently ignores the real danger of MOTORISED VEHICLES that have taken the lives of 640 people since 2007.

I’m very disappointed with the author for propagating these warped views, I would have expected more impartiality from a Which editor!

Peter says:
29 December 2020

You are incorrect – there have been injuries to pedestrians as unfortunately a proportion of users ride on pavements and come out of nowhere at speed, shooting diagonally across roads etc. When e-scooters come in legally they should have an ID number displayed prominently, compulsory third party insurance, and heavy fines for dangerous riding.

Untrue. Emily Hartridge was killed in Battersea in a collision with an HGV, whilst riding an e-scooter. The inquest returned a verdict of “accidental death”. Dr Wilcox wrote that: “……she lost control after passing over an inspector hatch in the cycle lane and was thrown under the path of an HGV. The scooter was being unsuitably driven, too fast and with an underinflated tyre and this caused the loss of control and her death.” A day after this incident a 14-year-old was taken to hospital in critical condition after his scooter crashed into a bus stop on Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham.

Typical Karen. What does environmentally friendly and leaving scooters on the pavement have in common? Nothing. If you even know how these rental systems work then you’d know you cannot leave the scooters “blocking the pavement” but would have to be locked up. Just like how rental bikes work. How many rental e bikes have you seen blocking roads, Karen?

I can’t find any comments from a Karen in this Conversation to whom Uchiha’s remarks might be addressed.

John, I could not either. I then assumed the name was being applied as urban slang.

Uchiha may mean Kate, the author, referring to the 5th para from the end.
I seen no reason why e-scooters limited to 15m/h should not be allowed on the road just as e-bikes are.
It seems perverse that they are only legal if rented.

M.Crosby says:
1 March 2021

Sorry Uchiha but I found an e-scooter in the middle of the path preventing mobility scooters passing It was still there half an hour later!Please get YOUR facts right.

DerekP….I think you’re right. In urban slang, a “Karen” is a pejorative term for a woman seeming to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is normal. The term also refers to memes depicting white women who use their privilege to demand their own way. Explains it all about Uchiha, I think.

malcolm r…the current situation where e-scooters are only legal if rented, is part of a national trial, the outcomes of which may determine whether all e-scooters become legal on roads. I get the impression that the trials aren’t going too well so far as they’ve been abandoned in several places due to widespread anti-social behaviour of riders and failure to observe traffic regulations (eg riding on pavements, jumping red lights etc.). We’ll see….

Peter says:
19 November 2020

helloi am 74 years old live in south london as an ex soldier why can not walk my dog etc without being in fear of e, scooters driving where & whenever they like pavement road > this is not i spent 12 years serving for .please some one sort this out.

Michael says:
31 January 2021

Greetings all. Talking about ecscooters is a good idea in the uk. As many countries allow this. I get it, people say no, and others say yes. We all won’t agree on this, but when do we ever agree on something new. It’s saving pollution. And we need to get our heads around this quickly. I say if you only go 15mph and where a helmet and high viz, looking safe and being safe around others thats ok. We all hated the idea when cars were invented. Then motorbikes came out. But we adapted to them. Change isn’t always a bad thing. E scooters are a good thing to have. Even if it’s a trip down to the shops. We have electric cycle bikes now. And we have electric E Scooters. Make this legal please.

Michael, I have to disagree as I don’t think that e-scooters will affect pollution. Most of the people riding e-scooters in my area are young and just joyriding. If anything the scooters replace walking rather than car use. I’m not against e-scooters but we seem to have an inordinate number of irresponsible people in UK….and consequently there’s a lot of anti-social behaviour and disregard for traffic laws. In one week in Newcastle, 6 people are being prosecuted for driving an e-scooter whilst over the alcohol limit, 4 are being investigated and one has been banned…and there are only 250 scooters in the trial ! I hope things improve.

I see that the gov have some of kind butt hurt that someone was so clever to create something like e-scooter. Now because you don’t have to use driving license/foot while traveling they want took money from you. I’m for that to require ID cards and big fee when someone driving like a idiot, but i won’t pay any insurance for mechanism with one battery and few cables, which is actually a big joke. E-scooters are limited vehicles on 30/50 miles range so it is perfect for taking them to the work, and also it is designed for small and tight areas, letting them to drive on public roads is even a more dangerous than riding on pavement. Even cyclist could be dangerous on pavement, its just depends from driver. For me only saftey driving should be allowed on pavements ( when there is no cycling road ) and normal cycling roads, but not in places like town centers and ”busy” pavements, where in this case the driver should start pushing his e-scooter. No any law in here should reaching in empty places or long way cycling roads without pavement for pedestrians on side. Asking people to drive e-scooters on private lands are completly silly, and no one will be listen to the stupid and undeveloped law.

It seems to me that escooters are a thing now. In terms of purpose and function, I do not see much difference between them and ebikes.

So perhaps it is time for UK cycling laws to be updated to recognise the new reality and properly regulate escooters. Clearly, just banning them is not effective.

Peter Knox says:
11 March 2021

I’ve just been watching a friend’s dashcam recording. He was overtaken by an electric scooter while doing 40mph in a 40 limit, on Dundee Kingsway.

Thanks Peter. I think any escooter that fast should be regulated as a motorbike as opposed to a pushbike.

This is it Peter. They can be modified to go faster and no one who has it done is going to limit their speed on the road, if legally allowed on the road in the first place or the pavement which is where they will also use it. They are a total danger to pedestrians and anyone using the pavement and must never be legalised subject to imprisonment if the law is flouted.

NO they should not be regulated as a motorbike. They should be prohibited anywhere except private land.

I fear the time for effectively doing that has long since passed. Given that we do not seem to even have enough police to do anything about cat thefts, I doubt that measures can be enforced against escooters.

Instead, why not permit their use, for responsible and safe users?

Thomas chappell says:
14 March 2021

they must take a test be insured wear a helmet pay tax stick to the speed limits and be treated like other road users.I WAS TURNING RIGHT ONTO A MAIN BUS ROOT IN THE RUSH HOUR IN THE DARK AND DID NOT SEE THIS IDIOT YES IDIOT COMING DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD WITH NO LIGHTS ON I JUST MISSED HIM.HE WAS GOING AT 40 MPH THEN WHEN I CAME TO THE LIGHTS AT A TRAM CROSSING HE JUST WENT STRAIGHT THROUGH ON RED.And you want to make this legal.

Thomas – Many, if not most, collisions are caused by drivers who are insured, pay tax, and stick to the speed limits. If they are motorcycle riders they generally wear a helmet too.

I would find it very difficult to miss an e-scooter rider under the conditions you have described.

Given that the construction of e-scooters must include an electrical power supply, it ought to be easy for them to all be fitted with running lights.

That said, in towns and cities it is quite common to see push bikes being ridden without lights. I guess the days when we had enough police to deal with such matters are long gone.

Do you seriously think making them take a test, wear a helmet and stick to the speed limits is going to be complied with let alone be enforceable?! Oh come on!! One allowed on the roads it will be impossible to get them off. The number of accidents and deaths will explode because most have no road sense and as we have seen will happily flout the law and disregard everyone else whether road user or pavement user.

Quite right. Bring back The Locomotive Act 1865. All motorists are a menace.

Hey uk, escooters are already prohibited anywhere except private land. That’s working well isn’t it?

Bas says:
19 March 2021

I have seen on numerous occasions children riding these e-scooters on pavements and roads. These electric scooters are classed as personal light electric vehicles and the law is that to be driven on a public highway they should have visible rear lights, number plates and signalling ability and a good braking system. No insurance company will insure them as they are at present illegal to use on a public road or cycle lane. Any parent allowing their children to use these electric scooters need to study the legality of use and instruct their children to prevent accidents. It is every e scooter owner responsibility to ensure the use is kept within the law.

Vehicles described as electric scooters are actually classed as ‘powered transporters’ which is a term used to cover a variety of novel and emerging personal transport devices which are powered by a motor, including e-scooters.

There is a good outline of the law applying to such devices in this government guidance –
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/powered-transporters/information-sheet-guidance-on-powered-transporters

Alan says:
21 March 2021

The police have the time to warn an old lady and her friend for having a cup of tea outside together in a public space. Why are so many people allowed to blatantly break the law, be a danger to pedestrians, drivers and themselves, wearing no protection and nothing is done about it.
Why is this law NOT enforced, is it too much trouble for the Police to stop and fine a scooter rider, they sure as h*** stop a speeding motorist !!!!!
I have just very nearly been run over by a young man on a scooter speeding along Bournemouth promenade.

Marc Archibald says:
25 March 2021

Legal or illegal I couldn’t care less and I will continue to ride my 750 watt E-scooter around the streets. It’s quick, it’s clean, it’s simple and it’s convenient. Oh and it’s incredibly cheap to run, the initial price was a bit expensive but the running costs practically eliminate the purchase cost in a matter of a couple months, or weeks! Easy to work on, quick to charge, easy to carry on buses and trains or to stick in the boot of the car.

I love my scooter! I won’t stop riding it around the streets no matter what the law says, and no I will not get any bleeding insurance or tax…get stuffed!

As I’ve said before, I’d like to see a proper UK legal framework that allows folk to use e-scooters responsibly.

Electrically assisted bicycles are allowed, so why not apply similar rules to most e-scooters?

Higher performance e-scooters could then be allowed on the same basis as mopeds or motorbikes.

I think those provisions would bring the UK more in line with many other countries, where e-scooters are not prohibited.

Perhaps when the present experimental trial is over that is what will happen. It certainly hasn’t been ruled out.

It’s a pity that trials were not carried out earlier. At present we have many people using e-scooters illegally as well as those involved in the trials. As a general principle I am not in favour of breaking a law in order to get it changed.

An electric bike is motor assisted and also uses foot power. An e-scooter is electrically powered and no doubt can also use foot power. I fail to see what the fundamental difference is that makes the legality so different.

I believe the C5 could be driven with no tax, insurance, licence or helmet. All seems very inconsistent.

Can someone enlighten me?

No tax, insurance, licence or helmet are required to drive a Sinclair C5 but you do have to take your life in your hands.

Electric bicycles were presumably allowed because they were essentially the same as engine-powered bicycles [autocycles and the early mopeds] but with a different form of power-pack. A scooter is a totally different design with no seat, a foot platform, a short wheelbase, and much smaller wheels – but I don’t think it is inherently less safe to ride, however it might be more unstable in traffic and the centre of gravity of the rider is likely to be slightly higher. There is a perception that the rider of an e-scooter is more vulnerable than a cyclist, perhaps that is because the steering is more abrupt.

It no doubt would have been better if the advent of electric scooters being used on the roads had been anticipated and trials started earlier, but as soon as electric scooters became available for off-road use people started taking to the roads on them.

I think the current requirements and limitations are unenforceable and there is ample evidence of violations.

Further to my comment above, we had a visitor on one evening last week who arrived on an electric scooter. I had never seen one close-up before and had not realised that they are quite substantial things. The batteries are housed under the footplate which adds considerable weight to the machine and means that the centre of gravity is much lower than I suggested above. This should make it more stable than I supposed.

Our visitor was breaking the law in several respects but I was impressed by the speed and smoothness of his exit as he left our property and took off on the public highway. A lack of lights and absence of hi-viz safety wear was a serious concern in my view because it could cause consternation among other drivers who suddenly encounter one on a dimly lit road.

That John this is interesting to hear. But I’m surprised that you did not make a citizen’s arrest and throw the unfortunate perpetrator into the dungeons beneath Castle Ward.

I was satisfied with a rapid exit, Derek. If I had cast him into the dungeons we would have had to feed him.

I remember Bette Midler in “Ruthless People” who was cast in a basement when kidnapped from her awful husband and lost a lot of weight, emerging a changed and (a little) nicer person. That might have happened to your delinquent scooterist, John. Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind (is that true?).

I don’t support cruelty, but, in people’s best interests, we sometimes have to be hard, even within our own families.

rose-anne lambert says:
29 March 2021

To me they need to be banned, today I was almost hit by 3 of them in a area your not allowed push bikes, the kids don’t look we’re there going don’t wear helmets, don’t respect the rules, and at this rate people will get hurt by them and if one hurts me my child or dog they will not get it back

I understand your sentiments, but by the same argument all cars, vans and lorries would have also been banned years ago. Never seen a car driving on the pavement?

Registration and insurance for 3rd party liability is already a well-established principle for motorized vehicles. Why invent a different system to deal with a minority of people who abuse these new modes of transport and suppress them for everyone else?

Margaret says:
4 April 2021

E-scooters are only legal to ride on public roads as part of hire trial schemes in England. I live in Newcastle upon Tyne where there is a Neuron hire scheme in operation and have seen and photographed all sorts of illegal behaviour on the scooters. As reported by Which? several young people have been prosecuted successfully for drink-driving offences. The scheme has already had to be limited so that scooters cannot be hired between 11pm and 5am because of the nuisance caused in residential areas. What is even more dangerous is that people too young to hire e-scooters are now riding privately-purchased scooters in public here. I have seen children who can be no older than 13 or 14 riding them along pavements and in a park. I have even seen an electric monocycle being ridden along a public road – which is even more scary. E-scooters would be fun when they are in a dedicated space off-road. But in public they are a menace, especially to pedestrians, and I hope they will be banned completely.

Margaret – Many people who have bought electric scooters are counting on the government to legislate for their use after the trials. The trials seems to be taking a long time before evaluation and a decision on whether or not to legitimise their use – my concern is that whatever decision the government takes will not overcome the present safety fears. There are too many privately-owned e-scooters already out there and users will not take kindly to having their use on the roads banned. They will either use them on the footways where it will be difficult to intercept and stop them, or will confine their riding on roads to night-time when trying to stop them could be difficult and hazardous.

I don’t think e-scooters are inherently more unsafe than other motorised transporters if ridden correctly and with adequate safety features properly deployed. I cannot see any reason why they should not be used wherever bicycles are permitted, including on shared-use footways, provided their speed is properly controlled, and riding is proficient with lights, hand signals, high-visibility markings, good positioning, and proper respect for other road users. The risk is that they will be treated as playthings and misused. The lowest permitted age should be 17 years but there would inevitably be youngsters showing off [as happens nowadays occasionally with quad-bikes and mopeds]. One question is whether there should be an upper age limit.

Whether e-scooters remain a novelty or become a permanent feature of everyday travel only time will tell and much depends on the government’s eventual decision. I was hoping that they would become well-used for journeys to work, either all the way or in combination with other transport modes. Perhaps each town or county should be allowed to make the decision, or possibly have power to ban them from certain streets if they are generally approved.

In an update to the Intro to this Conversation, dated 28 January 2020, Kate Bevan wrote that “it looks as though electric scooters could soon be legal to use on Britain’s roads. According to The Times, the government is planning to launch a consultation as soon as next month on how to regulate e-scooters.”

The government does seem minded to enable e-scooters to be ridden on roads and, in the context of timing for possible legislation, the “outcome and summary of responses information” was released on 30 June 2020 by the Department for Transport which has said that “as a result of this consultation, we are –
:: altering the original definition of an e-scooter
:: making regulations that will allow trials of rental e-scooters to begin
:: working with several interested local authorities and e-scooter operators to deliver trials in areas throughout the country
:: putting in place plans to gather evidence from the trials and assess the impacts of e-scooter use

The trials started on 4 July 2020 and are due to last twelve months. There will then be an evaluation process followed by legislation if the government approves the use of e-scooters. It would seem therefore that the earliest that e-scooters could be legitimised would be the end of 2021 [if everything goes well].

If illegal riders outside the trial schemes, and riders who misconduct themselves within the trials, exhibit bad behaviour and poor road discipline then there could be a public backlash such that legislation will not be forthcoming. That would be a setback to getting people out of their cars and decarbonising private transport.

My wife and I have free bus passes (I’m 70 and she’s 69) which we have not used at all since Covid made its appearance. So we bought two scooters which we use regularly to get to shops which are beyond walking distance and offer more than the village store. As with all other forms of transport, scooters can be dangerous if ridden carelessly and/or inconsiderately. Our scooters are limited to 15.5 mph (quite fast enough thank you) and have been an absolute boon in the months since we acquired them. They are equipped with lights and a bell. We’ve even add rear view mirrors to spot the racing cyclists before they shoot past. We’d be very happy to buy tax and/or insurance if we could. Our car did under 1200 miles between MOTs and there may well come a time when we get rid of it altogether – but not until the scooters’ legality has been resolved.

Stephen – Do you find it easy to manage balancing shopping on the scooter or is it fitted with a basket or tray?

How do you feel riding a scooter illegally? It’s not a risk I’d be willing to take. It would probably have cost less to use your car for your trips and done the car more good than standing idle.

David Patterson says:
16 April 2021

People round where I live in Streatham in SW London ride electric scooters on the footpaths and the road all the time. Like all these laws the majority of people – in large cities anyway – won’t take the slightest bit of notice and will do what they like. The police never enforce these kind of laws anyway. It’s like riding a bike on a footpath which is illegal as well though everyone does it. Personally I hate the sight of scooters anyway – both electric and foot power ones. Scooters are for kids and the sight of adults riding them is embarrassing.

David – I expect enforcement will take place as soon as an incident occurs in a locality. Lockdown has led to a sharp rise in the sale of e-scooters and they are still regarded as a very dangerous means of personal transport.

I think we are going to have to get used to seeing grown-ups ridings scooters however embarrassing that might seem for some people. The longer the government delays making a decision the less likelihood there is of the use of e-scooters being prohibited.

A House of Commons Transport Select Committee report released yesterday has called for all e-scooters to be fully legalised but the rising accident statistics remain a serious concern – and many incidents go unreported because of the current illegality.

Three deaths are known to have occurred in the UK and the types of injury sustained are mainly very serious [with minor casualties going unreported, the serious injuries will appear disproportionately high].

If e-scooters remain illegal on the public highway the police will presumably be able to check retailers’ sales records for the addresses of the buyers so that warnings can be issued

Today’s Daily Mail has much more information; the paper’s approach to the issue is heavily biased against the machines. See –
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8800145/Rising-injuries-e-scooters-Britains-streets.html

Renrut says:
16 April 2021

I would allow them on private land only.They are a dangerous nuisance.

”You can ride an electric bike if you’re 14 or over, as long as it meets certain requirements. These electric bikes are known as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ ( EAPCs ). You do not need a licence to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured.

Why, then, do we want e-scooters to be treated differently? Or would we like restrictions placed on e-bikes, or children on pedal bikes?

At present it is legal to ride an electric bike but e-scooters can only legally be ridden in certain areas as part of the government trials.

I certainly don’t agree with all legislation and rules that are imposed on us but feel it is my duty to comply and have the opportunity to make my views known to those who are charged with making decisions.

So what is the logic behind this apparent discrimatory approach?

I do not know. Maybe someone else can explain the reasoning.

Electric bikes can be a simple adaptation of a bicycle whereas – at least for adults – e-scooters are (in the UK) a relatively new means of transport.

The Sinclair C5 was novel but…. ” As the C5 is an ‘electrically assisted pedal cycle’, no helmet, driving licence or road tax is required to drive one, so the Sinclair marketing machine included 14-year-old children in its target market. ”. I would have thought it more like an electrically assisted pedal car.

A foot assisted scooter does not require any of the above so, like a pedal assisted bike, why does an electrically assisted version? Perhaps because it is not regarded as “assisted”?

As I said, I don’t know the answers Malcolm. There are plenty of odd discrepancies. Shuttered mains sockets to protect against electric shock were introduced before I was born, but most lamp sockets still allow both adults and children to touch live parts.

I look forward to driving a friend’s C5 but that might have to wait until after the pandemic.

All the arguments I have seen against e-scooters seem to nominate safety as their sole objection.
Can someone explain to me how a council owned scooter (LEGAL), is safer than my privately owned (ILLEGAL) scooter.
I thought the law in England applied to us all equally, could someone please explain?

Interesting wavechange, I have had no reason to check before now but a few days ago I noticed a young boy speed past our driveway.

Seems he was breaking a few rules/laws:
– No driving licence – too young to hold even a provisional.
– Speeding, definitely breaking our 15 mph lane. The max is currently not exceeding 15.5 mph.
– Illegal on the roads.
– Illegal on bridleways.

Why do parents buy these things for their children if they have nowhere they can legally use them? A few years ago, we had kids on mini motorbikes racing up and down the road. Someone reported them to the police and the bikes were confiscated. They or something equally noisy are used legally on another local property with a very large garden and the kids sometimes use them for hours so also a nuisance.

Mini motorbikes were noisy so you could hear them coming, scooters are not.

Where do you draw the line between what is permissible and what is not?

I was driving sedately home on a local dual carriageway at …. 70m/h . I, along with others, was passed by a Lamborghini that, I estimate, was doing twice my speed.
Alfa, idiots abound.

Like Covid holidaymakers, if it was only they who suffered damage by ignoring restrictions and advice, but it is the collateral damage they cause.

A friend’s son died when he fell off his bike when on a pavement, not wearing a helmet (although we never had them when I was a young push-biker).

Khufu – The law on e-scooters is clear and does apply equally to all people. Privately owned e-scooters must not be ridden on the public highway [comprising both the carriageway and the footway].

As the experimental use of the scooters was still developing the government wanted to avoid a situation whereby the public invested heavily in the machines and made it difficult for the government to legislate against them in the public realm should the trial schemes not prove successful or be adopted. Enabling a small number of trials to take place with commercially-hired e-scooters was seen as a good way of putting the concept to the test and gauging public reactions. I believe in most of the trial schemes the e-scooters are not owned by the local council but a concession has been granted to a private operator who has accepted the commercial risk involved in return for the hire charge revenue.

Unfortunately, for reasons probably beyond the government’s control – because it is not illegal to own an e-scooter and to use it on private property – many people have bought e-scooters [for use illegally] and will be aggrieved if they have to stop using them. They are presumably comfortable with accepting the risk of enforcement action if they use them on the public highway.

It will be interesting to see, when the trial schemes are evaluated, whether the government’s decision comes down to safety considerations, public objections because of the perceived nuisance factor, or public pressure from those who have spent hundreds of pounds on an e-scooter. Obviously, the machines will be almost valueless if the government rules against them and either insists that they are banned outright or are confined to use in town and city centres under an approved hire scheme [with such units technologically adapted to ensure they cannot be ridden beyond approved routes or zones].

Alfa – I don’t know why people break rules and laws that are intended to be be beneficial to the majority. From a young age we start to push boundaries and see what we can get away with. We might have done the same as these kids on motorbikes had we had the opportunity as kids. My mum told me that when I was a kid my father gave me rides on his motorcycle, sitting on the petrol tank. I was too young to remember. Even adults who generally behave responsibly will have broken the speed limit occasionally or more often. Drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists blame each other but can be blind to their own behaviour on our roads and pavements.

I support the trials of e-scooters to investigate how they are being used, with a view to future regulation. The government could have chosen to ban their sale but some would have imported them from other countries and disregarded the current rules concerning their use.

Anything that weans people away from using the motor car will benefit the environment and help tackle the problems it causes. One of my main concerns about e-scooters is that some will ride them on pavements to protect themselves from motorists and pedestrians may be injured.

Hi Khufu,

A brief summary of the law is here:-https://www.daslaw.co.uk/blog/new-rules-riding-e-scooters-plevs

It says:

“Is it legal to purchase a PLEV, such as an e-scooter or e-skateboard, in the UK and where can they be ridden?
The law states that the purchase and the ownership of e-scooters and e-skateboards is lawful in the UK. However, whist they are freely available to buy, their use is extremely restricted and is essentially limited to private land with the landowner’s permission.
PLEVs are essentially afforded the same treatment as motor vehicles meaning they are not permitted to be ridden on pavements. Due to the nature of e-scooters/e-skateboards they cannot be taxed, insured, and will not pass licensing and construction requirements. Therefore they cannot be driven on public roads.”

So safety issues – other than the general ban on driving any powered vehicles on the pavements – are not really the reason for banning the use of escooters.

Powered mobility scooters can be driven on pavements, subject to a speed limit of 4mph, see:-https://www.surewise.com/mobility-scooter-insurance/articles/mobility-scooters-and-the-law/

This is not just kids pushing boundaries, it is also parents who should know better and be bringing up their children to respect the law. My parents would never have purchased e-scooters in the first place.

My father let me drive the car on a disused aerodrome when I was 13. I suspect your father didn’t let you ride on his petrol tank on a busy road, but in both cases our parents were present and in control of the situations. What they didn’t do was go and buy us a motor bike or car that we couldn’t legally use and let us operate them on our own in public.

Some boundaries should not be crossed.

I had to remind myself what PLEV stands for – a Personal Light Electric Vehicle. They are all being used more and more on public pavements. Soon it won’t be safe to walk on a pavement.

In this discussion I have been suggesting that we should stay legal but have the opportunity to make our views known, Alfa.

I suspect that the rot set in when it became common for both parents to go out to work, not out of real necessity but to enable them to enjoy having more to spend. That can help kids become more independent but they can lose out on parental supervision.

” I suspect that the rot set in when it became common for both parents to go out to work, not out of real necessity but to enable them to enjoy having more to spend.“. Maybe for some but, for most, probably to earn enough to pay the mortgage or rent.