Are E-scooters legal

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the use of e-scooters on the road and I heard various news stories on the subject last week. I have one which I use for commuting and would be grateful if you could clarify if they are actually legal to use?
Lauren, Hammersmith

Answer

E-scooters are classified by the Department for Transport as being “powered transporters”, otherwise known as personal light electric vehicles. They are covered by the same laws and regulations that apply to all motor vehicles. The definition of “motor vehicle” as set out in the Road Traffic Act 1988 is “any mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads”.

For motor vehicles to use public roads lawfully, they must meet a number of different requirements. These include insurance; conformity with technical standards and standards of use; payment of vehicle tax, licensing, and registration; driver testing and licensing; and the use of relevant safety equipment.

It is illegal to use an e-scooter on a public road without complying with a number of legal requirements, which potential users will find very difficult. It is illegal to use an e-scooter in spaces which are set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders.

It is an offence to use e-scooters on the pavement and they are banned from use on footpaths, cycle lanes, or other spaces dedicated to pedal cycle use only.

It is legal to use an e-scooter on private land but only with the permission of the land owner.

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