Riding an E-Scooter in Your Local Area: What are the Rules?

Riding an e-scooter has quickly become all the rage, but what are the UK laws and how can you ride safely?

You’ve probably seen a few people riding around on scooters that seem to glide effortlessly before your eyes. Well, these effortless vehicles are e-scooters, and they may just be the new rage! In fact, new legislation means they’re now the newest mode of legitimate transport for UK citizens.

Taking to the roads on an e-scooter will certainly be fun, but should be a responsibility none of us take lightly. Without proper safety precautions, you might accidentally injure somebody, leading to a claim from a personal injury lawyers. Because of this, it’s best that you ride safely, and take as many safety precautions as possible.

In this article, we’ll be taking you through some advice to help you keep yourself and others safe. Before that, though, we’ll go into a little more detail about the rules and regulations of the new e-scooter law. Take a look…

What is an E-Scooter?

An electric scooter, otherwise known as an e-scooter, is a two-wheeled vehicle with small, electric motors. This means that they don’t work in the traditional way – using one foot to scoot you along – but require minimal effort to glide to your destination.

E-scooters are available to purchase and own, costing anywhere between £100 and £1,000. However, they’re also available to rent in many UK cities. All the person needs to do to hire one is install a smartphone app, much like bicycle hire in these cities, to pay and track the rider.

The New E-Scooter Laws

In recent years, e-scooters have become all the rage, with many countries legalising them as a legitimate mode of transport. Since 4th July 2020, the UK has become the newest country to add to this list, allowing license owners to ride rentals on public roads and cycle paths.

Although it was initially to be trialled in four “future transport zones” alone, the new laws have been widened across the country. This is part of a bid by the government to get people out of cars and using more economically friendly modes of transport.

In order to assess how effective they will be in reducing CO2 emissions, only rentals will be trialled for use on roads in local areas. So, anyone who owns their own e-scooter will not be permitted to ride in public areas, subject to a fine of £300. This will not only help control the process, but also allow the gathering of meaningful data to assess their effectiveness.

It’s down to the local council to make the decision to get involved, so you may have to contact them to display your interest. They will then receive more detailed regulations from the Department of Transport to keep things safe and controlled. Now, e-scooter companies are working with local councils to provide more availability for scooter hire.

The Rules for E-Scooter Usage

With these new laws and legislations in mind, what are the rules and regulations that e-scooter riders should follow to comply with the law? Here are the rules, so you can be prepared for your first scooter outing:

  • Only rentals can be used on public roads and cycle paths, not personal e-scooters.
  • The scooter must only be fitted with an electric motor, and no other kind.
  • The scooter should have a maximum speed of 12.5 mph.
  • The scooter must only have room for one person to stand, with no provisional seating for other passengers.
  • The scooter must have two wheels – one in front and one behind - aligned along the direction of travel.
  • The vehicle must have directional and speed control through the use of handlebars.
  • Power control must default to the “off” position.
  • Excluding the rider, the vehicle must be no more than 35 kilograms in weight.
  • E-scooters within the trial must be covered by motor vehicle insurance by their provider.
  • E-scooter users must have a driving license of some form to ride them.
  • Rented e-scooters can use the same road space as bicycles, so are allowed on all roads except motorways, and on cycle lanes and tracks.

Going on an E-Scooter Outing? Safety Precautions to Take

Although electric scooters are safe, and rarely end in disaster, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. Riding recklessly could not only cause yourself damage, but damage to those around you. So, in order to be as safe as possible, these six tips should prepare you for the road:

  1. Practice Beforehand

Before heading straight out on your scooter, why not have a few practise-runs beforehand? For example, you could head to a relatively empty parking lot and have a little scoot around to get to grips with it all. This way, you can make sure you’re totally ready for the roads before jumping straight into the deep end.

  1. Wear a Helmet

Although you don’t have to wear a helmet whilst riding an e-scooter, new laws mean e-scooter riders can use cycle tracks to ride. This means they will be in just as much danger as cyclists, and should take similar precautions. Any accident will be significantly compounded without a helmet, so we would suggest using one to be safest.

  1. Take Care When Riding in the Rain

There are multiple risks for e-scooter users in the rain. For starters, roads may be slippery, especially when turning corners, so take care. Also, your own visibility may be impaired, so you should probably ride a little slower than usual.

What’s more, visibility for drivers may also be an issue in the rain, so make sure you’re as visible as possible whilst on the road. To do this, you could consider wearing high-vis colours or arm bands, or turning on lights on the vehicle itself.

  1. Act as Though You’re Driving

Although there are no tests to be able to drive an electric scooter, you need to have a driving license to use one on the road. You should already have a good idea about how the rules of the road work. With this in mind, you should ride as responsibly as you would while driving in order to keep yourself and others around you safe.

  1. Stick Within the Speed Limit

As we’ve seen already, there are speed limits for e-scooter usage, and these should be stuck to. Although e-scooters can exceed 30mph, the new UK laws limit them to just 12.5mph. These are in place for the safety of you and those around you, so be sure to stick to them.

  1. Keep Them Maintained

This one is more for those who are renting the scooters out, but making sure each scooter is properly maintained day in and day out is paramount. This should include steering, speed, brakes and tire pressure. All of this will ensure your riders are safe for their trip.

Ready to Ride?

We can’t lie that these new e-scooter rules will make Christmas shopping and the daily commute much more exciting. That said, we also can’t forget that this exciting new way to travel also comes with responsibility.

Please be safe whilst you enjoy the new e-scooter laws. See you on the road!

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