Do you know the rules about riding an electric scooter?
Main article content
Members of the public are being urged to make themselves aware of the rules on using electric scooters after an increase in their use across Northamptonshire over the summer.
Officers from the Northamptonshire Police Operations team have issued the advice following reports of electric scooters being ridden inconsiderately and irresponsibly in public places.
At present, electric scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles, which mean they are treated as motor vehicles and therefore subject to all the same legal requirements such as insurance and licensing.
Earlier this year the Government introduced exemptions to enable some electric scooters to be used as part of trial rental schemes, similar to the one launched in Northampton on September 3.
However, this has appeared to have caused some confusion, resulting in privately-owned electric scooters being driven illegally on roads and pavements, and hired vehicles being misused.
Superintendent Adam Ward of the Force’s Operations team, said: “We’ve received a few inquiries about the law surrounding electric scooters following the launch of the 12-month trial in Northampton.
“Together with our partners from the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, we will be working in partnership with VOI, the company which operates the electric scooters, to help educate members of the public on both the safety and legality of hiring the scooters.
“As a partnership, we want to ensure those using the scooters as part of this trial do not inadvertently put their own safety potentially at risk, or that of other road users. Or use them in such a way which would be committing a criminal offence.
“It is important to remember that although the Government has introduced some exemptions, the legislation hasn’t changed and an electric scooter is still classified as a motor vehicle and, as such, the rider is subject to the same requirements as driving a car, and having a driving licence and insurance.
“Hired scooters are permitted on the roads, whereas privately-owned scooters are not, however it is still illegal for all electric scooters to be ridden on pavements, in parks or in other public areas.
“Until the law is changed, individuals could face a fine and penalty points on their licence or even the loss of their licence, and the scooter could be impounded if being used in a public place.
“Likewise, if anyone is caught riding an electric scooter dangerously or while under the influence of drink or drugs then you could be convicted of offences which might lead to a prison sentence.”
Offences relating to the standard of driving, using a mobile phone while riding or speeding also apply and police have the power to seize electric scooters if offences have been committed. It is not a legal requirement to wear a helmet, however users are encouraged to do so.