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Are Electric Scooters Road Legal? 2024 UK - Any Progress?

Are Electric Scooters Road Legal? 2024 UK - Any Progress?

Are Electric Scooters Road Legal? 2024 UK - Any Progress?

It’s legal to buy an electric scooter, it’s legal to sell an electric scooter, but it’s not yet legal to ride an electric scooter on the road (unless it is a rented one like Lime, Voi etc that is covered by the e-scooter trials). You can however ride around your own private land, as does Prince William, or like me ride in circles around the car park with my landlord’s permission.

Electric Scooters are currently classed as a 'motor-vehicle' but are commonly designed to align with cycles. Motor Vehicles require a number plate, tax, MOT insurance and a driving license.

I just find it so baffling and embarrassing that the UK government can't get to grips with electric scooter regulation. Over the last year or so, I've been trying to understand the political processes in Britain. What exactly has gone wrong?

Camilla Iftakhar Swifty Scooters

Why are electric scooters still not road legal in the UK?

There have been murmurings of change over the last couple of years. The announcement in the 2022 Queens Speech (under Boris Johnson) that a Future Transport Bill would be put to parliament specifically to cover e-scooters, was a significant moment. You can read more about this in the Journal:

Read more in the Journal: UK Future Transport Bill Announced 

The Department for Business and Trade even released funding for innovation grants and research funding to support this important section of the Green Economy - finally!

While the industry geared up in anticipation of the legislative progress, back in Westminster it was all change. Boris and Transport Minister Shapps were out, and in Septmber 2022 we had a new Prime Minister Liz Truss and new Transport Minister Trevelyan. A few weeks later Liz was out and, in October 2022 Rishi was in with a new Transport Minister Mark Harper.


But what happened to the Future Transport Bill for E-Scooters?

Nothing happened that’s what! In the Kings Speech in November 2023, the Future Transport Bill was replaced by the Automated Vehicle Bill. While I agree that the AV Bill is also needed for future industry, this glaring omission has left the UK electric scooter industry in tatters. But why did this happen?

E-scooters are small, low cost and thanks to the British media, apparently a divisive topic. “I mean, how much impact will e-scooters actually have?” I hear the politicians cry. “We need autonomous taxis!”

As it turns out, it takes a considerable amount of internal lobbying by each department to get their Bill into the King's Speech and into the parliamentary timetable. Despite various civil servants working on micromobility, the various research papers, and of course the "e-scooter trials", nothing will happen until the Transport Minister decides. I just wonder whether in 2024 nothing shouts louder than cash-rich AI firms?

Camilla Swifty Scooters

The Future Transport Bill fell by the wayside. I believe, sadly, with this government, e-scooters on their own are deemed to be “too small” a cause to be given priority.

Meanwhile, the research and innovation funding projects were in motion. I submitted a bid for Swifty Scooters in April 2023, and won! 

Read more in the Journal: Swifty Scooters awarded Grant Funding for Electric Scooter

electric scooters road legal UK
At the time of the 2023 Kings Speech, we had just returned from San Francisco holding the “Best Start-Up” award from the Micromobility Industries Summit. We were brimming with that Californian positivity and energy, and felt so proud that the development of our new scooter was actually supported by real grant funding from the UK! 

We are now weeks away from completing the part-funded project. Special thanks to the Niche Vehicle Network and the Advanced Propulsion Centre

So how much IMPACT will e-scooters actually have?

There is one piece of research that I’d like to point everyone to, the 2022 LEV Climate Study. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the potential impact of light electric vehicles on emission reduction.

The study demonstrates emission reduction not only by comparing modal shift to light vehicles from ICE cars, but also from EVs. Hmm interesting… And what is the potential emission reduction? It's 44%.

44% is HUGE. This demonstrates that we’re using completely inadequate vehicles for the trips that we make. If only there were some other options, if only there was more choice? We know that bikes just don’t work for everyone. Those short trips are the most polluting, and could be easily replaced by these new innovative vehicles, bringing with it a whole set of advantages to the individual and our communities.

READ the results here: 2022 LEV Climate Study

Nice story but where does this leave us Brits?

At the time of writing this blog (Feb 2024) there is no Future Transport Bill to speak of and no Low Speed Zero Emission Vehicle (or L-ZEV) category to look forward to.

However, there could be an easier solution for e-scooters which is to define them as a 'cycle', aligning them with e-bikes to 15.5mph limit.

Defining e-scooters as a 'cycle' would align them with all other regulations, including road rules, the Highway Code, and safety requirements.

In the recent Road Traffic Offenses (Cycling) Bill that had a 1st reading in the House of Lords, (even though it looks like it didn't make it through), I noticed the proposal that e-scooters could be defined as a 'cycle'. This could be a murmer from the DfT that they are still considering e-scooter regulation.

I have also noticed a new consultation which proposes EAPCs (e-bikes)  could have an increased motor power limit, from 250W to 500W, and to allow 'throttle-only' e-bikes in under the same rules as cycles.

This new EAPC consultation "Smarter regulation: proposed changes to legislation for electrically assisted pedal cycles" could be in preparation for e-scooter rules, as most e-scooters have a 350W or 500W motor.

However, it is not clear whether e-scooter rules are part of the motivations for issuing the consultation.

Meanwhile the industry is moving fast. There are many new modes to consider, and so many legislative barriers which are slowing progress.

Let’s hope that the new government have the foresight to include these clean, inclusive, equitable and joyful vehicles in their manifesto!

Opening up the industry to be more inclusive of people's individual needs ie. more choice is crucial to meeting our Net Zero goals, that the government is bound to meeting by law.

How can I ride my electric Swifty legally?

In March 2024, Swifty unveiled the first and only STAND-ON MOPED. An electric scooter SO GOOD that it has passed the stringent motorcycle vehicle approval tests. It's called the Swifty GO GT500 - Find out more about this pivotal moment in British transport history in the Journal!


Political wrangling aside, we continue to focus on export markets, and continue to campaign for e-scooter to be ridden like cycles. And don't forget, you're still permitted to ride on private land (with land-owners permission), or as a mobility aid up to 8mph if you have a registered disability.

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  • I have so many areas that are just a bit far to walk, but take longer (due to route) to drive. So in most cases, due to time restraints, I have to drive a diesel vehicle the long route. I’m a sane/sensible 58yr old female who’d happily use my e-scooter for short runs rather than have no option but to take the car.
    So short sighted of the government to be stalling on this..meanwhile Pandora’s box has already opened and illegal use will continue.

    Sharon E Nimmo on

  • Iv just come back from a holiday in Benidorm , there they have scooters on the roads or in bike lanes ! Never see an accident or any problems, from pizza deliveries to post or just commute! All fine , just get Insurance for 3rd party in case of damage ! I fly drones and my insurance covers up to 12 million 3rd party and only £29 a year ! Do same for scooters simplz 👍👍

    Paul on

  • The discussion shouldn’t be about regulating e-scooters for road use. Who would want to risk riding such a small, low visibility, unstable, vehicle on roads crowded with buses & lorries on UK roads where even a minor impact with large motor vehicles would mean death or serious disability for the e-scooter rider? The focus should be on having speed-restricted & insured e-scooters legalised for use only on pavements, as in Italy & other countries, which are mostly empty outside city centres. An impact with a pedestrian would likely only cause injury rather than death. Same as with disability scooters.

    Tony Bond on

  • I believe these delays in legalising e-scooters in the UK is simply ridiculous.

    Can you not start a petition for us all to sign? ✍️

    David Blades on

  • Send me please the prices ? Many thanks

    Philippe on

  • With some 60 years of working in engineering & transport I’ve ridden & driven most things either directly or on a simulator – the 18m Citaro artic on Willesden Green simulator was very realistic as it ‘kicked’ when I was a bit heavy with the right foot on a full lock turn (these pusher artics can tuck in at the rear axle, as the centre axle scrubs a foot or so sideways as you power round a sweeping bend
    Some similar thinking on risk management has informed the policy of having Electrically ASSISTED Pedal Cycles, with a current top speed pretty close to the typical mass riding speeds of unassisted cyclists using bikes for TRANsport. In NL you’ll usually be merging and riding with a steadily moving block of cyclists, at around 12 mph, easy to set off and join or steer out and stop
    In London as the use of cycle routes matures, the head down bottom up performance riders are beginning to stand out for the increased risk of crashes (some filmed!) and disruption they cause

    The EAPC is legal because the the power assistance is ONLY applied proportionate to the user actually pedalling, and speed directly linked to this. Instinctively on a regular safety bicycle a rider will slow their pedalling rate when approaching a hazard or a pedestrian

    With a direct throttle-only control, the machine becomes a moped (Class Q)

    A similar rationale applies to scooters, and we have the technology already fitted to electric assisted Class 1 Invalid Carriages (per 1988 ICAct)

    I’d challenge the average person to scoot along with only human effort at the speeds which some of the illegal machines are being ridden at

    Of course this smarter drive system would cost more, but scooting with assisted inertia, makes the machine stop when the rider stops scooting – for example entering a more congested area with high pedestrian activity

    We see a similar right foot paralysis from many drivers blundering in to road hazards and failing to read the road, and check their speed, often then crashing because the gap is just too small, bridge to hump-backed or bend too tight. (Now if we could only make drivers need to pedal to keep a car moving, they would pause pedalling when driving between rows of parked cars, they would slow of stop pedalling if distracted – by mobile phone use?, stop if they fall asleep, or are affected by drink or drugs). We already have something like this on trains (for over 100 years – no longer called the ’Deadman’s’ though, its the Driver Vigilance Device (DVD/DSD) that beeps every 30 seconds demanding a response, and then the signal AWS Bell (clear) or horn (danger) goes off, & you need to really be alert & focussed to actually drive the train smoothly

    H on

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