Following a week long operation run by the Safer Transport Team at Greater Manchester Police (GMP), a reminder has been issued around the use of E-scooters.

As the popularity of E-scooters continues to grow, it is important to reiterate the rules and regulations surrounding their use, and also ensure parents and guardians are aware of the legalities when considering an E-scooter as a Christmas gift.

Did you know, E-scooters can only be ridden legally on private land with the landowner’s permission, or on public roads and cycle lanes where there is a government-approved rental trial?

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E-scooters are recognised as powered transporters and fall within the legal definition of a motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act 1998, and as a result, you may find yourself committing an offence if ridden illegally in public spaces.

It is not currently possible to insure privately owned e-scooters which is a requirement for driving motor vehicles, meaning it is illegal to use them on the road or in public spaces.

So contrary to popular belief, it is actually against the law to ride an E-scooter on any public land, including pavements, cycle lanes, bridleways or any other land accessible to the public, such as parks, beach front walkways and car parks.

Other rules which may also apply under the Road Traffic Act include:

  • Driving with a licence
  • Driving/riding with insurance
  • Driving/riding other than on a road
  • Drink and drug driving
  • Requirement to be taxed
  • Requirement to have a valid MOT

If you are caught using an E-scooter on a public road, pavement, or other prohibited space you are committing a criminal offence and could be prosecuted. The parents of children using e-scooters may be responsible for any fines incurred from them being ridden illegally.

In addition to the implications of illegal use, it is also important to reiterate safety concerns of not only those riding the scooters, but also the public. Some models can reach speeds upwards of 70mph, which can be incredibly dangerous.

Chief Inspector Danny Byrne from the Safer Transport Team at GMP said: “Following a weeklong operation to help keep the roads of Greater Manchester safe, I am keen to reiterate the rules and regulations of e-scooters, as many people are not aware of the legalities around them.

“In the past 12 months, the police have seized 148 E-scooters, which had either been seen riding illegally or had been involved in a collision. This number gives an idea of the scale of the problem, and we only expect this to become more prominent as e-scooters are likely to feature on so many Christmas lists.

“Everyone should be aware of the rules, and know where e-scooters can be ridden, or you may find yourself, or your children committing an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988, or if ridden on a pavement, the Highway Act 1835.

“More importantly I would like anyone to think twice before consider buying an e-scooter for a loved one.  What can be seen as a great Christmas present, could present serious risks to the riders, and those around them.  There is a huge risk of being involved in a serious accident, which could potentially have devastating consequences. In the first ten months of 2021, nationally, there have been nine deaths and other casualties involving E-scooters.”

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Our view

Despite the legal side of things we still see people on E-scooters in Trafford, the public though could be confused since places like Amazon even Halfords are selling these scooters, we have seen people on scooters and police have turned a blind eye, this is luck more than anything as the officer may have had something more important to be doing.

Having an E-scooter is great fun, its a sustainable way to travel and we believe the messy laws surrounding E-scooters needs to be fixed making it legal to ride an E-scooter anywhere with certain conditions such as compulsory wearing of helmets which we believe should also apply to cycling, and a speed restriction to a maximum of 20mph which is more than enough for anyone and E scooters should not be on a pavement.