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Are electric scooters legal in UK?

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The use of environmental-friendly electric scooters has long been in debate especially amidst the ongoing crises of pandemic. Where many advocates of e-scooters have come forward to express their opinion to legalize the use of e-scooters, many are still not sure if this is a good idea. With many opinions the government now has permitted the use of these electric scooters on privately owned land. This means that if you own an e-scooter, you can ride it on the land you own or on a land you’re giving rent for that too with the permission of the landlord. 

Buying and owning of E-scooter: 

Buying an electric scooter is not banned in the UK but to ride one on public places such as roads or bicycle lanes etc. is considered an offence and one can face penalty. 

Owning an electric scooter is considered the same as owning any other motor operated vehicle such as cars, motor bikes, etc. One has to go through the process of licensing, taxes and MOT etc. making the electric scooters fall into the terminology of PLEV I.e., Private Light Electric Vehicle. 

Why aren’t they legal?

However, the reason why they are not considered legal, although they require licensing for their use is that they do not have number plates or signal lights, making the rider impossible to be identified in case of a mishap or emergency. 

Are they categorized as e-bikes?

Electric scooters though have similarity with the e-bikes with paddles and batteries, are not considered a part of that family and thus they are treated differently when it comes to legalization. However, according to resources, the government is thinking of considering them as one.

The scooters which are not electrically operated are also not allowed on pavements and public places but can be driven on roads only.

In which area will they first be legalized?

If e-scooters become legal at some point in the UK, Central London will be one of the first places where E-scooters could be ridden. 

Rental v. Privately owned E-scooters:

Although this faced a lot of controversy and outrage from those who own an e-scooter, it is said that rental scooters are legal for use in some parts of the region specifically on roads but if you own one you cannot ride it legally. 

The Trial Scheme:

A trial scheme for renting electric scooters which are legal to ride on road was proposed the previous year. Those who have a driver's license for other vehicles are allowed to ride e-scooters under this trial scheme but within the speed limit of 15-16mph while using a helmet to ride and the riders must be 16+ of age. Because of the ongoing coronavirus situation, the demand to legalize e-scooters have led to this trial. 

The safety concern for these electronically operated scooters, especially when a Social Media figure, Emily Hatridge, died while riding one when she accidentally collapsed into a lorry, has been aroused and became a high-profile media case. But on the other hand, people meet with a lot of car accidents too, right? 

The details of renting a scooter say that those who will ride will not be required to have any insurance but a driving license and the renting will also screen out the low-quality untested scooters from the market. These hired electric scooters will be allotted boundaries to be ridden into and this scheme will be a piece of a bigger cake for the green enthusiasts as the government is heading for a plan to invest around £2 Billion in this scheme. 

The location of trials: 

There will be specific zones allocated for these trials according to the government plan. The areas will include West Midlands, Bristol, Bath and other areas like Nottingham. Many people have come forward to express their interest in the trials and want to be a part of the scheme as it would be like a group of beta testers. With these trials, it is hoped that if everything goes well according to the plan, the chances of electric scooters being legalized in the UK will expand and the limited resources such as oil and petroleum could be preserved for future use and their use could also be directed towards emergency activities. 

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