The Department for Transport (DfT) has released initial guidelines clarifying safety, licensing and legal issues following the commencement of UK trials from 4th July.
The rules for private e-scooters, the DfT emphasised, have not changed. It remains illegal to use them in public, and doing so could end in users picking up a fine, points on their licence, and the e-scooter could be impounded.
Trials are taking place in these areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority (Darlington Borough Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Middlesbrough Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council)
The maximum speed for an e-scooter is 15.5mph. Trial e-scooters are limited to this speed and in some areas e-scooters may be limited to a lower maximum speed.
You must have the category Q entitlement on your driving licence to use an e-scooter. A full or provisional UK licence for categories AM, A or B includes entitlement for category Q so, if you have one of these licences, you can use an e-scooter.
If you have a provisional licence, you do not need to show L plates when using an e-scooter. If you have an overseas driving licence, you can use an e-scooter if you:
– Have a valid full licence from an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country (so long as this does not prohibit you from driving low-speed mopeds and motorcycles)
– Have a valid full licence from another country that entitles you to drive a small vehicle (for example, cars, mopeds or motorcycles) and you entered the UK within the last 12 months
Use the DfT’s online tool to check if you can drive in Great Britain with your non-GB licence.
If you have been resident in the UK for more than 12 months, you must exchange your licence if you wish to continue driving in the UK. You cannot use an e-scooter if you have an overseas provisional licence, learner permit or equivalent.
E-scooters must have motor insurance, but you do not need to arrange this; this will be provided by your e-scooter rental operator.
Helmets and clothing
You should wear a cycle helmet when using an e-scooter. Helmets are recommended but are not a legal requirement. Make sure that your cycle helmet conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and is securely fastened. Wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing so that other road users can see you in daylight, poor light and in the dark.
Where you can use a trial e-scooter
You may use a trial e-scooter on the road (except motorways) and in cycle lanes. You must not use an e-scooter on the pavement.
Other safety rules for trial e-scooter users
– E-scooters should only be used within the local area hosting the trial.
-E-scooters should be used by one person at a time.
– You must not tow anything using an e-scooter.
– You must not use a mobile phone when using an e-scooter.
– You may use a screen to display navigation information, but this must be set up prior to setting off.
– Always ensure bags or other small items you are carrying will not cause a danger to you or others around you – for example, never hang them from the handlebars.
– You should not ride an e-scooter while drunk or otherwise intoxicated; you may be prosecuted under drink or drug driving laws. Careless and dangerous driving offences also apply to users of e-scooters.