The rules on e-Scooters in London: what can and can’t you do? Where can you rent?

·3-min read
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Electric scooters, also known as e-scooters, are now available to rent in selected areas of London as part of a year-long scheme to measure their viability.

As part of the trial, conducted by TFL and London councils, the scooters are banned on pavements and limited to 15.5mph.

Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal on roads, cycle lanes and just about anywhere else you can think of. This is because of an old law dating back to the 1800s.

Anyone who does ride their own scooter could face a hefty fine and six points on their current or future driver’s licence.

When did the government make rental e-scooters legal?

In June 2020 the Department for Transport announced it had given the go-ahead for trials of rental electric scooters.

The 12-month scooter trial will allow the government to test whether they could offer cost-effective travel that could ease the burden on the transport network and provide another green alternative.

More than 40 UK towns and cities, including Birmingham and Manchester, have already been taking part in a government e-scooter trial after the change in law.

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What criteria do I need to meet in order to rent an e-scooter in London?

- You must hold a provisional or full driving license

- You must be 18 years old or over

- You will have to take an e-learning safety course before you hire for the first time.

How to hire a rental electric scooter

You can rent the operators’ (Dotts, Lime, Tier) e-scooters through their mobile phone apps:

- Download the app of your chosen operator.

- Complete the registration process including verifying your age and driving licence.

- Complete the mandatory in-app training before your first ride.

- You will then be able to find an e-scooter.

- Use a QR code or vehicle ID displayed on the e-scooter to unlock that e-scooter in the relevant operator’s app.

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Where in London is this trial happening?

The London boroughs and areas taking part in the e-scooter trial are Ealing, Canary Wharf in Tower Hamlets, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Richmond upon Thames, according to TFL. The City of London will also take part but not until July 5.

Why can’t I ride my own e-scooter?

Privately-owned e-scooters, which are widely available to buy online, are illegal to use on public roads, cycle lanes and pavements. The only place a private e-scooter can be used is on private land, with the permission of the landowner.

At the moment, they are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), so they’re treated as motor vehicles and are subject to all the same legal requirements - MOT, tax, licensing and specific construction.

Electric scooters are also classified as a carriage and the law restricts carriages from public footways.

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How dangerous are these scooters and what are the police saying?

“They are absolute death traps,” Simon Ovens from the Metropolitan Police’s road and transport policing command told the Standard.

Earlier this year, a three-year-old boy suffered serious injuries when he was hit from behind by an e-scooter while walking on a pavement with his grandmother in west London.

Last year TV presenter Emily Hartridge was the first person in the UK to be killed while riding an e-scooter when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea, south London.

Mr Ovens added that his officers had already seized about 800 e-scooters in 2021.

Riders face a £300 fine and points on any current or future driver’s licence. Intoxicated e-scooter riders are being prosecuted under drink-driving laws.

They also risk having their e-scooters seized by police.

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