If you didn’t catch the news recently then we have an exciting e-scooter update for you all.
So currently, as things stand it is illegal to ride a privately owned electric scooter in public. Public means, everywhere really .. roads, pavements, cycle paths, parks .. you catch our drift. You can, however, ride your e-scooter wherever you want on private land, as long as you have the permission of the land owner of course.
But why are e-scooters illegal though? We know! It sounds absolutely absurd, considering the positive impact that they would have on the environment, not to mention easing congestion on our busy roads. They are illegal because of a Road Traffic Act that was passed way back 32 years ago in 1988, which states that a person must not use a motor vehicle on a road or any other public place without insurance, thus putting an electric scooter into the same vein as cars and motorbikes - I think that deserves a ‘Boo’!
We in the UK are one of the last countries in the whole of Europe to have a ban on riding privately owned e-scooters on public roads, which is why the following news really got us excited in the Ride LEV office. Needless to say, a multitude of Whats App notifications came thick and fast with links to various news articles mostly with the headlines reading ‘E-Scooters should be legalised say MP’s’
Ok, so for those of you that missed it, or for those that just fancy reading an e-scooter blog just for a laugh then please do read on ..
As we all know electric scooter rental trials have been running up and down the country. The trials, which were all brought forward and expanded due to COVID-19 have seen a massive uptake, and so the Transport Select Committee have called on the Government to legalise e-scooters in the UK. The Committee called on the Department for Transport to encourage their use in place of short car journeys as a greener alternative.
The chair of the Committee, MP Huw Merriman said “E-scooters have the potential to become an exciting and ingenious way to navigate our streets and get from place to place. If this gets people out of the car, reducing congestion and exercising in the open air, then even better.”
And it totally makes sense, doesn’t it? What can be wrong with getting out in the fresh air and getting from a to b in a cost effective way, all the while being emission free! Sounds good to us! Not to mention that they are really fun to ride too! Not sure they mentioned that in Parliament though.
So who are the Transport Select Committee? We hear you ask. The Transport Select Committee are a select Committee of cross-party MPs. The remit of the Committee is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Transport and its associated public bodies. So the Committee backing the legislation to make e-scooters legal is a pretty big deal!
The Committee recommended that the requirement for a provisional licence should also be dropped, and also that the use of e-scooters on pavements should remain illegal. Other recommendations were that local authorities would set the speed limit and the use of wearing a helmet would be encouraged. All really sensible recommendations to promote safe riding, and here at Ride LEV we would certainly encourage the use of helmets and protective clothing wherever you ride your electric scooter.
So there you have it, in a nutshell. Some real positives to take from that, and we will keep you up to date with more e-scooter news as it comes in!