Share the roads safely – know the rules on privately owned e-scooters
Transport for Buckinghamshire’s road safety initiative, Travel Safe Bucks (TSB) has launched its latest social media campaign to raise awareness of the law on privately owned electric scooters – which are illegal for use on public roads, cycle lanes and pavements.
Under government regulations, e-scooters are classed as ‘powered transporters’ – a term used to cover a variety of novel and emerging personal transport devices which are powered by a motor.
While trials of rental e-scooter schemes were made legal by the Government in July 2020 – and have since been launched in Aylesbury and High Wycombe in November 2020 – the laws on private e-scooters have remain unchanged.
This means anyone who uses a privately owned e-scooter on a public road or other prohibited space is committing a criminal offence and can be prosecuted.
The potential penalties depend on the nature and gravity of the offence, ranging from a fine and penalty points to disqualification from driving. The e-scooter could also be impounded.
People using e-scooters dangerously or while under the influence of drink or drugs can also be convicted of offences which could lead to imprisonment.
It is only legal to use a privately owned e-scooter on private land, with the permission of the landowner.
The new campaign launched by Travel Safe Bucks is running across Facebook and Twitter and will be running throughout March and into April and is supported by the Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit.
Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport Nick Naylor said:
“The law is very clear that privately owned e-scooters can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission.
“For those using the e-scooters as part of the government trials we know they can bring many benefits such as reducing carbon emissions, cheaper and more accessible travel and congestion reduction in our towns and cities, but that mustn’t be at the expense of road safety. If you use an electric scooter as part of the rental schemes, please do so safely and legally, brush up on the highway code and your responsibilities as a road user.
“Although there is no legal requirement for a helmet to be worn, Travel Safe Bucks recommend wearing one when using an e-scooter as they can travel at speeds of up to 15.5mph and a helmet is a simple way of protecting yourself from injury. E-scooters are very quiet, and pedestrians may not hear them approaching so please watch out for each other and share the roads safely.”
PC Liz Johnson, of the Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit, said: “Electric scooters are growing in popularity, but privately owned e-scooters can only be used on private land, with consent of the landowner. This means that anyone who uses a privately owned e-scooter on a public road or other public space is committing offences and could be prosecuted. I am keen to make anyone considering buying an e-scooter aware of this information before they make a purchase.
“As e-scooters are classed as vehicles, the laws in place around cars also apply to electric scooters, so if you are caught committing the offence you could get a £300 fixed-penalty notice and six points on your driving licence. These laws are in place for both your safety, and the safety of other road users.”
Information on the Buckinghamshire Electric Scooter Trial:
To find out more about the law on using e-scooters, go to the following web pages: