Electric scooters may be legalised on UK roads

The public spoke and UK Gov listened

We recently wrote an article about the UK's archaic highway laws and how absurd and antiquated (148-years antiquated) they seemed to the layman.

Well today, we're asking ourselves if the UK Government has finally seen the light? It was reported earlier today that Ministers are expected to begin consultation on legalising electric scooters in February 2020, with the aim to start trials in cities across the nation immediately after.

George Freeman, a transport minister, said: “We are considering this closely. The Department for Transport is committed to encouraging innovation in transport as well as improving road safety.” He said that the Department for Transport will issue a consultation on “micromobility devices” such as e-scooters “in due course”.

It's widely understood that if successful, it will see e-scooters become officially legal in the UK for the first time, unsurprisingly riding on the coattails of our more forward-thinking European neighbours, such as Switzerland, Denmark, Germany and Austria. Better late than never in my view!

How will things change?

The consultation is expected to suggest e-scooters should be treated like bicycles and be allowed on roads and in cycle lanes, with a potential requirement that the scooters themselves have “speed inhibitors”, limiting their speed to 15.5mph. It might be a good time to invest in a future-proofed sub-16 mph scooter.

Lime, Bird and Voi are among the companies vying to be the first to launch shared scooters in London, with US-based firm Bird the first to trial a fleet of 50 vehicles in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at the end of 2018.

 
Lucian Alex 2019

Other road rules to expect

It's unclear whether or not wearing a helmet will be compulsory or not. There has also been some pushback in Whitehall amid concerns that e-scooters could discourage people from walking and contribute to obesity. The legalisation of e-scooters will be considered as part of a review of the laws governing Britain’s roads.