Legalisation of Electric Scooters

Are electric scooters legal?

UK law explained (October 2023 update)
Oct 06, 2023 – Eilis Barrett

Good news – it’s legal to buy escooters in the UK.

OK news – there are many places where it’s legal to rent and ride them on the road. Bad news – it’s not yet legal to ride your own scooter on public roads.

Better news – that could soon change although maybe not until 2024.
Private scooters: the law today – October 2023
Technically, an electric scooter is a motorised two-wheel vehicle or Personal Light Electric Vehicle (PLEV). They differ from electric bikes not just because they don’t have pedals but because they are classed as motor vehicles under the road traffic laws.

Why are electric scooters illegal?
Because escooters don’t (usually) comply with road traffic laws – in particular they don’t have rear lights or registration plates – it’s not legal to use a privately-owned scooter on a UK road.
This is why it’s often said that they are legal only on private land with the landowner’s permission. See below for how this might change in future.

New laws
Scooters to have front and rear lights, no more than 16MPH you will have to be 14 or older to ride, 500 watt motor, no more than 55 KG in weight.

Defining an escooter
These were the criteria the government used to legalise the rental escooters in the trials – this is a reasonable starting point for what may be legalised (but could well be amended in some way):
• A single electric motor with a maximum continuous power rating of 500W
• No pedals that can propel the scooter
• Designed to carry only one person
• Maximum speed of 15.5mph
• 2 wheels, 1 front and 1 rear, aligned along the direction of travel (ie no hoverboards!)
• Weight less than 55kg A mass including the battery, but excluding the rider
• Directional control via handlebars mechanically linked to the steered wheel
• Has a way to control the speed via hand controls and a power control that defaults to the ‘off’ position.
• Seats ARE allowed.
• A white-front and rear-red position lamp