Government planning to allow electric scooters on UK roads

The Government is expected to hold a consultation on allowing e-scooters to use roads and cycle lanes, followed by a trial period

The Government is planning to allow e-scooters on the road depending on the results of a consultation and trial period, it has been reported.

It’s expected that transport ministers will hold a consultation on the public use of e-scooters – also known as PLEVs (personal light electric vehicles) – in February, followed by a trial period in various UK cities.

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If the results of the consultation and trial period are favourable, demonstrating that e-scooters are safe and can be regulated, then the Government could legalise their use on public roads and cycle lanes across the whole country, the Times has reported.

It’s also expected that e-scooters will have to have their top speed limited to 15.5mph before being allowed on UK roads – the fastest e-scooters on the market have a top speed of around 40mph. Riders may also be required to wear a helmet, which is not mandatory for cyclists.

The move doesn’t have everyone’s support, though, with some concern reportedly having been raised around whether the introduction of e-scooters would discourage walking and contribute to obesity.

At present, e-scooters can be legally purchased in the UK but are banned from public roads, cycle lanes and pavements, effectively restricting their use to private land. This doesn’t stop some people illegally riding them in public, though. The use of e-scooters on public roads is legal in many European countries, with users tending to rent them via various smartphone applications rather than buying them.

In July 2019, a 35-year-old woman was killed while riding an e-scooter when she collided with a lorry in Battersea. The following day, a 14-year-old boy crashed his PLEV into a bus shelter and suffered a serious head injury.

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These events led to a Metropolitan Police crackdown on the use of PLEVs. According to PA, almost 100 people were caught riding e-scooters on public roads during the week commencing 22 July 2019. Most were given a warning, but 10 were reportedly fined for additional offences, such as going too fast or running a red light.

Then, in August 2019, Transport for London called on the Government to legalise the use of e-scooters on public roads while also introducing certain restrictions for them, including a 12mph speed limit and rules around where they can be parked. 

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