Many people are confused when they hear the term PLEVs although in reality this is a group term for light e-vehicles. One such type of vehicle, which is growing in popularity across the UK, is the e-scooter which comes in a variety of different forms. While often seen as “fun” they can reach high speeds and there have been numerous instances of “drivers” losing control, causing injuries to themselves and those in the vicinity. So, what do you need to be aware of with regard to ownership and use of e-scooters?
Are e-scooters legal in the UK?
While the UK government is currently undertaking a controlled trial of e-scooters, you may be surprised to learn:-
- It is perfectly legal to buy an e-scooter
- They cannot be used on public pathways
- They cannot be used on public roads
- Their use is restricted to private land
Hands up, how many of us have seen e-scooters and similar vehicles on our local roads, local pathways and in public fields?
Department of Transport e-scooter trial
The Department of Transport is currently undertaking a trial of e-scooters in various areas of England, Scotland and Wales. The vehicles are provided via a rental scheme and they can be legally used in certain areas of appointed towns and cities. Under the scheme, anyone using an e-scooter on the roads would require a full/provisional driving licence. It is also important to remember that users:-
- Are legally obliged to use e-scooters in a safe manner
- Must be aware of people in their vicinity
- Should provide sufficient warning when approaching others
- Abide by UK highways and byways regulations
In effect, when using an e-scooter on the road you are “driving” with the same restrictions and obligations as if you were driving a car. It is also worth remembering that many of these vehicles can reach surprisingly fast speeds – which can cause severe injuries and significant damage to property. These are not toys!
Claiming compensation for injuries involving e-scooters
The very fact that, excluding specific trial areas, e-scooters cannot be driven on public roads or public pathways often makes compensation claims much simpler. Put simply, they should not be used away from private land (other than those hired as part of trials across the UK).
When it comes to those e-scooters involved in trials, “drivers” are obliged to respect the Highway Code and will be held responsible if they fail to do so. Many people await with bated breath the outcome of the e-scooter trials, and the legal obligations afforded to owners/users going forward. Let’s face it, at this moment in time they are legal to acquire but illegal to use outside of private land.