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When and where can I ride an e-scooters legally in London streets?

When and where can I ride an e-scooters legally in London streets?

At present, there are no laws to recognise electric scooters as legalised modes of transportation. But it is not as black and white as it appears in the legal texts because things are rather grey in practice on the streets. As the law stands today, there is no specific law for e-scooters to recognise them as “powered transporters”. Therefore, they do not fall under the same laws and regulations as motor vehicles and, therefore, fall outside the legal remit on motor transportation. But the good news is that all is not doom and gloom with an electric scooter! There have been giant steps towards legalising the use of scooters on public roads. It is fair to say that we are on the verge of legalising the use of electric scooters, at least in selected areas. So, when and where can you ride an e-scooter in London?

The good news

In London, there is a de facto legal status for e-scooters in some London boroughs. That is correct; this special status is only available in participating areas and does not apply to the whole of the capital. The scheme started on Monday 7 June 2021, whereby e-scooters became available to rent. This is the only way to ride an e-scooter on public roads in London legally, and the use of rented scooters are only applicable for those specified boroughs.

The scheme operates as a trial programme and is scheduled to last until 6 June 2022. A final decision to legalise the use of e-scooters will be made after reviewing the findings from the trial.

Where can you legally ride an e-scooter in London?

According to Transport for London (TfL), there is a trial with London Councils, a selected number of participating London boroughs, and Canary Wharf. The aim is to operate and work together on a single trial so that the trial can run consistently across participating boroughs. For TfL, safety at its core and will be monitored closely during the entire process.

It is worth noting that to ride legally (that is, to the letter of the law), you will need a rented scooter from an approved provider. However, it is unlikely that you will be stopped by the police in the trial areas and ask you to produce the scooter license. If you become erratic with your private e-scooter and do something entirely unsafe for yourself or other road users, you are inviting trouble. So, please make sure to ride your electric scooter responsibly and safely. In the trial areas, the police take a practical approach since there is no proper legislation. However, you will face a hefty fine if you use a mobile phone whilst riding or ride it dangerously. To find out more about prosecutions and policing on electric scoters, read the Met Police guidance.

Here are all the areas you can legally ride an e-scoter subject to the above legalities mentioned above.

  • City of London
  • Ealing
  • Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Lambeth (north of the borough only)
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Southwark
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Westminster

There is an interactive map on the TfL website to pinpoint the precise locations that have implemented the trial scheme. It helpfully highlights all the areas so you can confidently ride within the legally permitted areas.

It is always legal to use your scooter in private land if you have the landowner’s consent. Again, make sure you ride the scooter safely by wearing a helmet. However, it is worth mentioning that you are not legally required to wear a helmet whilst riding, but it would be highly unwise to do so without one!

Other legal issues to consider

You will need a formal driving license to use an electric scooter on public roads. A full (pink) or provisional licence entitles you to ride a scooter. Even if you have an overseas licence, you too, can use the trial scooters. Make sure the overseas license is a full licence that permits you to drive a car or motorbike.

In London, if you sign up for the (trial) rental scheme, you are required to undertake an online course before you can start riding them on public roads.

To learn more about how electric scooters shape our future, read our article on how we can revolutionise urban transport in the next decade.

The law relating to electric scooters is somewhat uncertain. We untangle the grey areas to reveal all the places in London that permit you to ride an electric scooter.

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