Electrical scooters (also known as e-scooters) come under the category of “powered transporters”. This also covers a range of other personal transport devices which are powered by a motor. “Powered transporters” fall within the legal definition of a motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act 1988. Therefore, the rules that apply to motor vehicles, also apply to e-scooters.
As a motor vehicle, they must comply with various pieces of Road Traffic Legislation, including but not limited to:
- driving with a licence
- driving/riding with insurance
- driving/riding other than on a road
- need to be taxed
It is not currently possible to get appropriate insurance for privately owned e-scooters, meaning it is illegal to use them on the road or in public spaces.
Rental e-scooter trials
Trials of rental e-scooters are taking place in the UK, including in Portsmouth. Any person who uses a rental e-scooter on a public road or other public space, must comply with the relevant Road Traffic Legislation or they face potential prosecution.
Legal use of an e-scooter
It is legal to use an e-scooter on private land with the permission of the land owner.
In areas where a trial rental scheme is running, it is legal to use a rental e-scooter on a public road or cycle lane.
The most appropriate action for the circumstances will be given, these include:
- a Fixed Penalty Notice for no insurance, with a £300 fine and six penalty points
- a Fixed Penalty Notice for no driving licence, up to £100 fine and three to six penalty points
Police will also take action against rider behaviour, whether private or rental. Offences could include:
- riding on the footway: Fixed Penalty Notice and possible £50 fine
- using a mobile phone: £100 and six penalty points
- riding through red lights: Fixed Penalty Notice, £100 fine and possible penalty points
- drink driving offences: As with driving cars; court imposed fines, driving ban and possible imprisonment
If you are using an e-scooter in public in an anti-social manner, you can also risk the e-scooter being seized under section 59 of the Police Reform Act.
We would always recommend to wear safety protection such as a helmet when riding these vehicles, and to keep to the speed limit.