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Before you buy an e-scooter – think about where you can legally ride it

In the run up to Christmas the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Road Safety Partnership is reminding people that buying an e-scooter as a gift will be tempting, especially as you can get them from many popular retailers.

However, the law is clear, you can buy one, however, you can’t ride it legally on a UK public road, cycle lane or pavement. The only place an e-scooter can be used is on private land.

Leicester Time: Before you buy an e-scooter - think about where you can legally ride it
Picture: Unsplash

Electric scooters are classed as a motorcycle as defined in Section 185 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and, because of their low speed, within the subclass of moped. This means that electric scooters must abide by the same road traffic legislation as mopeds and motorcycles, such as an MOT, Licensing, Tax and Insurance.

Jonathan Clarkson, spokesperson for the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Road Safety Partnership said, “We understand the public’s support for environmentally friendly modes of transport. We want to work with the public to make sure the roads are safe for everyone, however, since 2021 we have seen 50 reported injuries involving e scooters, including 20 people who have received serious injuries.”

“The UK Government is currently taking part in ‘Future Transport Zone’ trials for e-scooter hire, with a view to making them legal to use on the roads.”

“All local authorities can apply to take part, but at the moment, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are not part of the trials.”

Section 165 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 provides the power to seize privately owned e-scooters for driving without insurance or a driving licence. If you are stopped while riding an e-scooter, you may be given a warning by an officer and your details will be recorded. If you are stopped a second time your e-scooter will be seized and retained by police.

As a result of continuing community concerns officers based in various Neighbourhood Policing Areas, including Central Leicester, have held a number of interventions since the summer called Operation Pedelfast. The aim of these operations is threefold, community engagement, education and enforcement, these officers have issued 121 first and only warnings and seized 9 e-scooters and 8 e-bikes. 

Leicester Time: Before you buy an e-scooter - think about where you can legally ride it