What does the law say about where you can ride?
The UK is currently in the midst of a fast-moving mobility revolution. Unfortunately however, the law just hasn’t kept pace, classing electric scooters and skateboards as ‘carriages’, meaning that at present, it is still illegal to use them on UK pavements, cycle lanes and public roads. However, whilst this might mean you’re legally only left with private land to ride on, things might be about to move in the right direction.
In July 2018, the Department of Transport began its ‘Future of Mobility’ consultation with the purpose of examining the possible changes to the law that are needed right now to encourage new modes of transport. In November 2018, a US electric scooter rental firm became the first to be given permission to trial its rental scheme in London’s Olympic Park. This may just pave the way for others to follow very soon.
Whilst the law allows for some pedal-assisted electric bikes (those capped at 15.5mph) to be ridden without any kind of licence in the UK, electric skateboards – even those with identical speed limits – are currently treated differently. The Department for Transport (DfT) classifies electric skateboards as Personal Light Electric Vehicles as they are powered by a motor, which requires them to be registered and taxed via the DVLA if ridden on public roads. No, we can’t understand the difference either!
Electric Skateboards, scooters, hoverboards, hovershoes – and who knows what else yet to be conceived – are the future of personal transportation. They are eco-friendly, convenient, clean, affordable, not to mention hugely enjoyable and it is clear that the government knows an evolution is needed in the law to keep up with the technological revolution. So keep your eye on this page. Change is a-coming!
UPDATE MAY 2020: The government is expected to unveil a £250m investment in UK cycle lanes to encourage commuters to ride to work instead of using public transport, as part of the effort to prevent a resurgence of coronavirus.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, is expected to make the funding announcement during his appearance at the Downing Street coronavirus briefing on Saturday.
There are also plans to fast-track trials of the use of e-scooters on British roads, according to the Press Association. Currently, electric scooters – which can travel at up to 15.5mph – are banned on roads and pavements in the UK.
The government launched a consultation about legalising e-scooters in March and would need to pass secondary legislation to legalise their use.