Electrical scooters (also known as e-scooters) come under the category of “powered transporters”; this covers a range of personal transport devices which are powered by a motor.
E-scooters are classed as motor vehicles under the Road Traffic Act 1988. Which means the rules that apply to motor vehicles, also apply to e-scooters including the need to have a licence, insurance and tax.
It's not currently possible to get insurance for privately owned e-scooters, which means it's illegal to use them on the road or in public spaces. If you're using a private e-scooter you risk the vehicle being seized under S.165 Road Traffic Act 1988 for no insurance.
If you cause serious harm to another person whilst riding an e-scooter the incident will be investigated in the same way it would if you were riding a motorcycle or driving a car.
Rental e-scooter trials
Trials of rental e-scooters are taking place in the UK. Anyone using a rental e-scooter on a public road or other public space, has to comply with the relevant road traffic legislation or they face potential prosecution.
To rent an e-scooter you must:
be at least 16 years old
hold the correct driving licence (category Q or P/M)
create an account with the rental company
E-scooters can only be used in approved areas.
Legal use of an e-scooter
It's legal to use an e-scooter on private land with the permission of the land owner.
Where a trial rental scheme is running, it's legal to use a rental e-scooter on a public road or cycle lane, provided you have the correct licence and follow road traffic regulations.
Penalties and offences
If you don't have a licence, or the correct licence, or are riding without insurance you could face a Fixed Penalty notice:
with a £300 fine and six penalty points on your licence for having no insurance
up to £100 fine and three to six penalty points for riding without the correct licence
You could also be committing an offence if you're caught:
riding on a pavement; Fixed Penalty Notice and possible £50 fine
using a mobile phone while riding; £100 and six penalty points
riding through red lights; Fixed Penalty Notice, £100 fine and possible penalty points
drink driving: the same as if you were driving a car, you could face court imposed fines, a driving ban and possible imprisonment