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LTB 332/23 - Electric Scooters (e-scooters) Use And The Law – Warning

No. 332/2023

Our Ref:  V4/23


To:  All Branches


Dear Colleagues,


Electric Scooters (e-scooters) Use And The Law – Warning:

Introduction:


Further to LTB 325/23 a number of enquiries have been received in relation to the ‘legality’ of the use by members of privately owned e-scooters to commute to and from Royal Mail Group workplaces and this LTB is to provide guidance to Branches, Reps and members.


E-Scooter Safety And Accidents: 

Last year there were 1,402 reported collisions involving e-scooters, with 356 scooter riders being seriously injured, 782 being slightly injured and 12 people being killed.


The E-Scooter Law In 2023:

Rental electric scooters (e-scooters) are the only way to legally ride an e-scooter on public roads or in other public places within Government designated trial cities and areas – and even this is limited to specific boroughs.


The bottom line is that it is still illegal to use privately-owned e-scooters or other powered transporters on public roads.


In short – the rules for privately owned e-scooters have not changed. It is against the law to use a privately owned e-scooter. If a person uses an e-scooter illegally:

  • They could be prosecuted and face a fine

  • They will receive penalty points on their drivers license

  • The e-scooter can be confiscated and destroyed

CWU Advice: 


Prosecution, driver’s license penalties and driving bans can obviously affect members’ jobs if prosecuted and a driving ban results. Our advice therefore is to comply with the law of the land and not to use e-scooters on public roads, footpaths, cycle routes, pavements etc., either for social, domestic, pleasure or commuting to/from work and members who own e-scooters most certainly must not under any circumstances use them for work purposes e.g., on delivery which could result in serious conduct code action and penalties by the employer.


Trial Areas


Department for Transport Government sanctioned e-scooter trials are taking place in these areas:

  • Bournemouth and Poole

  • Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Princes Risborough)

  • Cambridge

  • Cheshire West and Chester (Chester)

  • Derby

  • Essex (Basildon, Braintree, Chelmsford and Colchester)

  • Gloucestershire (Cheltenham and Gloucester)

  • Great Yarmouth

  • Liverpool

  • London (participating boroughs)

  • Milton Keynes

  • Newcastle

  • North and West Northamptonshire (Northampton, Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough)

  • North Devon

  • Norwich

  • Nottingham

  • Oxfordshire (Oxford)

  • Salford

  • Solent (Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton)

  • Somerset (Taunton, Minehead and Yeovil)

  • Tees Valley (Hartlepool and Middlesbrough)

  • West Midlands (Birmingham)

  • West of England Combined Authority (Bristol and Bath)

  • York


A New Form Of Transport

The Government wants to explore new, environmentally-friendly, greener forms of transport that can be used to reduce road congestion and pollution – but need to make sure that any alternatives are safe for both users and non-users alike.


The current rental e-scooter trial is designed to help test the best ways to protect the public.

Rental e-scooters have specific safety features installed. For example, they are limited to a speed of 12.5mph and have lights that are always on throughout any rental.


The second phase of the rental trial launched on 25 September 2023 is being operated by Dott, Lime and Voi. This is in line with Department for Transport national guidance that allows e-scooter trials across the UK to run until 31 May 2024.


Use Electric Scooters Legally

The e-scooter rental scheme is the only sanctioned public road use scheme approved by the Department for Transport (DfT).


Privately-Owned E-Scooters Are Not Legal To Use On Public Roads

Currently e-scooters may be used on private land with permission from the landowner or occupier but several laws make it illegal and/or spell out the penalties if a person is caught riding one on public roads:


  • Driving a motor vehicle with no insurance – the rider could be liable for a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on their driving license.

  • Driving vehicles on pavements is generally an offence – this applies at all times to all types of e-scooters and powered transporters.


Some of the laws do not apply to mobility scooters or e-bikes (electrically-assisted pedal cycles) which are not treated as motor vehicles. The Gov.uk website has details of the law on powered transporters.


Scooters On Public Transport

People are not allowed to carry e-scooters or e-unicycles on TfL services or in stations or other premises on the public transport network, even when folded. This safety step comes after defective lithium-ion batteries in privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles caused fires on the greater London network.


E-scooter owners risk a fine of up to £1,000 if they don’t comply.


E-scooters hired under the rental e-scooters trial have always been banned from TfL services because they cannot be folded.


The E-Scooter Rental Trials

Since June 2021 electric scooters (e-scooters) have been available to rent in trial areas.

The rental e-scooters are currently provided by three different rental operators:

  • Dott

  • Lime

  • Voi

The operators were chosen after an open and competitive process to assess their ability to meet strict safety requirements and high operating standards. (For example, the scooter batteries can be monitored to ensure they meet fire safety regulations).


Making Safety A Priority

The trial will also help better understand how e-scooters can be used safely – and how policy should be developed in the future. Trial area local authorities are charged with taking steps to ensure that anyone using a rental e-scooter rides safely and follows the rules of the road as well as guidance from the rental operator.


The safety features include:

  • Riders must be 18 or over and hold at least a provisional driving license.

  • The speed limit of trial e-scooters is capped at 12.5mph – they will automatically reduce speed to 8mph in ‘go slow’ areas. The trial e-scooters also come to a safe stop in ‘no-go’ zones to ensure they can be ridden safely.

  • All first time riders must to do mandatory education on how to ride safely.

  • The trial e-scooters are maintained to a high level and have large wheels to help navigate road surfaces more easily.

  • Lights at the front and rear of the vehicles are always on throughout any rental.

Major Electric Scooter (e-scooter) Law Changes from 5 December 2023:


From December 5, 2023, all new and existing members of electric scooter trials must provide their name and driving license number. In addition to this, they must submit a photograph of the front of their driving license under new minimum standards of verification.


Operators of the 30 plus e-scooter trials schemes must ensure they have robust systems in place for capturing license information, as well as storing it securely.


This is being done to ensure data can be given to the Police if it has been requested, either via a third-party provider or through the operators themselves.


Further new requirements are being introduced to ensure that license checking software, or customer service team checks, are used to check the validity of driving licenses.


Riders of electric scooters will also see changes to their experience when using apps, with the vital information now being included.


This will include the relevant age limit for the trial and the rule that the person riding the e-scooter must hold a valid driving license.


Lawyers welcome the changes with a leading spokesperson stating that the new regulations could improve safety for riders and other road users, adding that too often we see the devastating impact road collisions can have and how clients are often left needing specialist support and rehabilitation. The new legislation coming into force on December 5 is a positive step in the right direction in order to protect the safety of e-scooter users and other road users. However, the vulnerability of e-scooter users remains a concern. Calls for e-scooter training and education have arisen from various sources in order to further encourage safe e-scooter usage and protect the safety of all road users.


In 2022, there were 1,402 reported collisions involving e-scooters, with 356 users being seriously injured, 782 being slightly injured and 12 people being killed.


There is optimism from road safety experts, that the new rules will cut down on the number of younger, and potentially more unsafe riders and boost road safety for all.


  • The Government has warned people about the risks they face if they use an e-scooter illegally including a fine, penalty points and the e-scooter could be confiscated, impounded and destroyed.

  • Privately owned e-scooters cannot be used in public, being illegal to use without a number of legal requirements like number plates, insurance and lights.

The Planned New Transport Bill and Electric Scooter Laws:

The planned Transport Bill that would contain regulations to fully legalise electric scooters in the UK has been delayed until at least late next year – with a Government minister saying it is still studying the evidence from the ongoing rental trials.


A letter has been sent to the Prime Minister signed by more than 50 organisations urgently calling on the Government to legalise e-scooters. This includes environmental charities and campaigners, local authorities, disabled people’s organisations, micromobility operators and retailers. They are warning that the UK is at risk of falling behind the rest of Europe.


They state that the current lack of certainty combined with the fact an estimated 750,000 privately owned and unregulated e-scooters are on UK roads illicitly, underscores the importance of e-scooter legislation being introduced.


Further updates will be published in due course when further law changes are announced.


Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce

National Health, Safety & Environment Officer


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