Princess Street

Are they legal?

Electric scooters have become a common sight on the streets of Scotland in recent times – despite plenty of confusion over their legality and correct use.

Whilst they are not legal on public highways or pavements, they can still be purchased both online and in stores across the country.

The growing popularity of e-scooters is due to them offering a “greener alternative” compared to cars or motorbikes, while being less physical than cycling or walking. They are also relatively cheap (starting from £200 up to £1000), making them appeal especially to younger users, who often make use of this means of travel as a “game” or a “joke”.

However, whilst everyone is increasingly likely to see them on roads, cycles lanes and pavements, should they even be there in the first place? Are they designed for them? Should we adapt to them?

At EV Law Scotland, we have put together all the key information you need to know about e-scooter use in Scotland – including what is likely to change following the government’s announcement that it plans to legalise them in a new Transport Bill. The bill is currently under discussion, though nothing has been confirmed as yet.

  • Has the government legalised e-scooters now.  

    No it hasn’t. Neither the Scottish Government nor UK Government have legalised the use of private e-scooters.

  • Has any Government Dept said anything about it? 

    The answer is, Yes! Eleanor ChappellHead of Micromobolity for the Department for Transport, said: “For private machines, unless they meet the requirements for motor vehicles – so you’ve got an motorcycle helmet on, you’ve got insurance which is hard to get and they meet the motor vehicle requirements – it is still illegal to use an e-scooter on public roads, and the police will continue to enforce it that way.”

  • Great, so is anyone legally authorised to buy and use an e-scooter? 

    Many retailers, both online and in-stores, are actively promoting these electronic products and it is completely legal to buy one. You just can’t use it legally on the public highway.Privately owned scooters are restricted for use solely on private land with the permission of the land owner. It is illegal to use a privately owned e-scooter on pavements, cycle paths or roads at present, so don’t do it, otherwise Police Scotland would and could fine you and seize your e-scooter. 

  • Are there any rental schemes going on in Scotland like in England? 

    There are no rental schemes going on in Scotland. The only rental schemes so far have been in England. Glasgow City Council recently encouraged the Scottish Government to allow e-scooters on the “road network”.

  • What are the risks if I use my own e-scooter on public land now? 

    As mentioned earlier, up until the new Transport Bill legislation is passed, riding your own e-scooter on the public highway is illegal.

  • How long will it take for the Government to make changes? 

    The Government has clearly stated that to make changes the bill would approximately take 1 year – as there are many things involved like insurance, users, age restrictions, speed limits, e-scooter specifications etc which need to be looked at.

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