DESPITE the sight of an electric scooter whizzing along city centre roads becoming increasingly common, the vehicles remain illegal in the vast majority of England.
Other than in a select few areas which are holding trials on rental scooters, riders can be punished for using the scooters on roads, cycle lanes and pavements.
In fact, scooter owners can only use the vehicles on private land.
So, we contacted police in the South East to find out what punishments could be issued to those caught riding e-scooters in public:
Inspector Myles Hilbery, of the City of London Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “It’s not possible to get insurance for a private e-scooter, meaning they’re illegal to use on roads or public places.
“If you use an e-scooter in any public place in the city, whether it’s on the road, the pavement or other public place, you will be breaking the law and can be prosecuted.
“While we will often issue a verbal warning for first time offenders, if you continue to use your e-scooter, our officers will take further action against you.
“Some of the offences include driving without a valid licence and driving without insurance, which could result in a £300 fine and up to six points on your driving licence if you have one.
“On top of this, your e-scooter may also be seized.”
A Sussex Police spokesman said that “police will engage with and educate individuals on the legislation around the use of e-scooters”.
The county is not taking part in an e-scooter trial, so the vehicle’s remain illegal to use anywhere other than private land.
The force said punishments could vary depending on the offence committed by the rider.
Examples of offences which could be committed by riders included:
- Driving with no insurance (a fine of up to £300 and six penalty points)
- Driving with no driving licence (a fine of up to £1,000 and between three and six penalty points)
- Driving with no MOT (a fine of up to £1,000)
As a result, the Sussex Police spokesman said the maximum penalty which can be issued to an e-scooter rider was “variable”.
But he confirmed that they would be treated as drivers if caught.
The spokesman said: “They are treated as drivers due to the mechanically propelled vehicle they are using.”
Essex County Council is running a trial of an e-scooter rental system in Basildon, with further trials planned in Braintree, Brentwood, Clacton, Chelmsford and Colchester.
But privately-owned electric scooters are still illegal to use anywhere other than private land.
Essex Police say the scooters involved in the trial are easily identifiable as they “look different to private scooters” with a bright orange design and SPIN branding.
Chief Inspector Emma Bullock, Head of Roads Policing at Essex Police, said: “It is illegal to use a motor vehicle without the appropriate licence or insurance.
“As it is not possible to get insurance for private e-scooters, that means it is illegal to use them in a public place.
“It’s really important to emphasise that if you’re not hiring an e-scooter from SPIN as part of the council pilot scheme, and using it within the 6 areas which are part of the scheme, you’ll be breaking the law.
“Safety is really important too, and we will take action against anyone breaking the law.
“That could mean not only seizing the e-scooter but it may also mean prosecution for using a motor vehicle and not having insurance or the appropriate licence.”