The current legality and coming changes for electric scooters in 2022

The current legality and coming changes for electric scooters in 2022

The government has extended the electric scooter trials until spring 2022 in the UK. Local councils have been running e-scooter rental trials in collaboration with large e scooter rental companies like VOI, DOTT, TIER & LIME. These trials began in summer and will supply important data, guidance and conclusions to the government in order for them to legislate them into UK law. While it is legal to buy or sell an e-scooter, riding them on public roads, pavements or cycle lanes is against the law until this new legislation is complete.

The reclassification

Whilst these trials are continuing the NMDA (National Motorcycle Dealers Association) and the DfT (Department for Transport), have been working together on a reclassified of e-scooters. They have been referred to as Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle’s or PLEV’s Personal Light Electric Vehicle’s. But as of Autumn 2021, as the first step to legislation will now be referred to legally as ‘Powered Transporters‘ this new terminology will classify e-scooters only and distinguish them from other electric transportation like electric bikes.

What to expect when legislation is passed.

Looking towards Europe for guidance on how the UK government may legislate them into law we find the following common requirements from various EU countries.

• Maximum speed cannot exceed 20/25 km/hour (12-16mph)
• Speed restrictions in pedestrian zones 8/10 km/hour (5-6mph)
• Maximum motor size of 500W
• Front lights and side reflectors must be fitted
• Two brakes that work independently are fitted
• A bell or a siren must be fitted.
• Minimum age of 14 years old
• Mandatory helmets for children
• CE Certification on Scooter/battery/charger
• A one-time registration fee and issuance of a license plate number
• An annual licence fee

Most of the above are sure to be part of the new UK laws coming in spring 2022 and raise many questions for current e scooter owns.

1. If my electric scooter has a bigger motor that 500w will it continue to be illegal?
2. If my e-scooter can exceed the 16mph speed limit, will it continue to be illegal?
3. If my e scooter doesn’t have the required lights, will it continue to be illegal?

At we think that the answer will be a clear ‘YES’ to all of the above, if you have a dual 1000W motor scooter, that can do 30mph we expect you will not get approval to use this legally. Again, if you have a home made scooter with no lights and/or CE mark we think you will not be able to get the required license plate to use it legally.
Exactly how this all unfolds in the coming year is anyone’s guess but we expect that most of the EU requirements on the list will also be UK requirements. The simple reason for this assumption is that most of these requirements are fair and sensible, which most people would agree with and be able to comply with, without breaking the bank. However, if the powers that be decide to go down a much stricter route and enforce insurance, road tax and MOT as per most other vehicles it could be the end of e-scooters before the micro transport revolution even begins…..

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