Highway Code changes for e-scooters would ‘cause confusion’ and pose ‘greater risk’

Police seizing e-scooters minutes after purchase says spokesman

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The new driving law changes are designed to boost road safety for all users, with quicker and heavier modes of travel having the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they pose. A number of revisions were made for cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians, but there was no mention of changes for electric scooters.

E-scooters have exploded in popularity in recent years, with more than 50 cities running rental trials, with the Government expected to look at legislation in the future. 

It is illegal to ride a private e-scooter on public land, with riders potentially facing fines, penalty points on their licence and the vehicle could be impounded.

Petty Abrams, Associate at Plexus Law, describes the omission of e-scooters from this update as “glaring” given the growing popularity of e-scooters as a mode of transport.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she said: “The absence reflects the fact that, with the exception of the rental trials which are part of a tightly regulated Government backed scheme, private e-scooters remain illegal for use on the road or the pavement.

“This illegality does not deter the thousands of e scooter riders taking to the streets as their popularity continues to increase.

“Subject to the legalisation of e-scooters, where can we expect the e-scooter to sit within the new hierarchy of the Highway Code?  

“E-scooters are small in size compared to other motor vehicles, there are problems with visibility in a congested road space and the rental e-scooters are limited to a maximum speed.”

Petty notes that some rental suppliers are capping the speed at 12.5 mph with an automatic reduction to 8mph in “go slow” areas. 

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A comparison may be drawn with electric bikes, which are also covered within the Highway Code subject to compliance with various regulations including capping their motor speed to 15.5mph. 

E-scooter riders could be considered to be as vulnerable as cyclists, with Petty Abrams suggesting that the Highway Code could make similar provisions for the vehicles.

The vehicles are recognised as “powered transporters”, falling under the same laws and regulations as motor vehicles.

They are subject to the same legal requirements as other vehicles, including MOT, tax, licensing and specific construction.

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