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The law surrounding E-Scooters

This week’s blog is brought to you by Laura Dawson pupil to Philip Morgan

 

Electric scooters are becoming more and more popular especially with students and are being trialled in multiple cities across the UK with the possibility in some cities to rent an electric scooter or E-Scooter. Over the last few years E-Scooters have started to appear in various cities, and are available for use to anyone with a smartphone. The rise in E-Scooters has mainly come from the fact they are part of trend of eco-friendly transportation and also offer a convenient and relatively flexible option for people to travel and are very popular with students and young professionals. The ease of E-Scooters is also another reason for their popularity, all you need is an app on a smartphone, input your driving license details, card details and you can then drive the E-Scooter wherever you want and are charged by the minute making it much more easy option compared to a bus or taxi.

 

However, they are a very different to the average scooters most of us are used to from childhood and they are a very different prospect in law.  Due to their design and features they are categorised as a motor vehicle as they are powered by a motor and not by the power of the person themselves. There is currently no new piece of legislation to cover E-Scooters they have essentially been added to the list of motorised vehicles and so the Road Traffic Act 1988 applies to E-Scooters.

 

The law surrounding them is still very much developing and this leaves some areas complex and confusing. One thing is clear though as E-Scooters are classed as a motor vehicle the law applies in the same it would if you were driving a car.

 

The prohibition on drink driving applies broadly and because E-Scooters are powered by a motor and not the driver themselves riding one after a drink could amount to an offence. With the rise in E-Scooters popularity and rental schemes, more and more people are becoming susceptible to being stopped and prosecuted especially when using E-Scooters after a night out. This had led to a surge in drink driving prosecutions involving E-Scooters in which many of the people charged did not know the legal rules surrounding E-Scooters.

 

There have been numerous cases in the media where someone might be in town having a drink and on their way home spot a bank of E-Scooters and think maybe it will be a more convenient and cheaper way to get home than waiting for and paying for an expensive taxi. Some people have even said they thought it was more responsible than getting behind the wheel of their car after a night out or they did not realise an E-Scooter was classed the same as a car. It is for these reasons many people who would often never think to drink and drive have been caught out and face serious consequences and impacts on their life.

 

If you are found guilty of drink driving, the consequences can be severe. You can face a ban and the expense of court fines and costs; some cases could even attract a prison sentence. A drink driving conviction will need to also be disclosed to your insurer, leading to higher premiums and will appear on criminal records impacting current or future employment. All these consequences can apply if caught drink driving on an E-Scooter.

 

The law is therefore quite clear, E-Scooters are treated the same as a car, van or bike etc and attract the same laws and consequences.

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