E Scooters


Legal Use of Electric Scooters


Officers from neighbourhood teams across Bournemouth will be talking to riders of e-scooters to let them know where they can use their privately owned e-scooters legally.  

E-scooters, or electric scooters, are two wheeled scooters that are propelled by a motor and have recently experienced a surge in popularity. The only place to legally ride a privately owned e-scooter is on private land with the owner or occupier’s permission. 

The Government has announced locations throughout the UK, including Bournemouth, where trials of an e-scooter rental scheme will start to take place. This allows individuals to hire an e-scooter from an official scheme and ride legally. Privately owned e-scooters are not part of this trial. 

Concerned about the safety of the rider, pedestrians and other road users, Sergeant Paul Harding said: “We are seeing a lot more people riding e-scooters on pavements, promenades, in parks and even on the road. We are very concerned about the safety of pedestrians, other road users and the riders themselves. Not all riders know that they are classed as powered transport and it is illegal to ride one on public land, this includes roads and pavements. They may find themselves committing an offense under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and, if on the pavement, the Highway Act 1835.”

Local officers are aware that individuals might not realise the legislation when buying them. Sergeant Harding continued: “We don’t want to spoil people’s fun, but we want to keep everyone safe. Almost silent on approach, they can easily knock someone over who steps into their path and current trends show riders, regardless of whether they are legal to use or not, are not wearing the correct personal protective equipment to keep them safe.”

Officers will approach anyone riding an e-scooter and inform them of the law. They will take down the details of the riders and explain where and how e-scooters can be used.
Sergeant Harding concluded by saying, “We advise that if you are using your e-scooter on public land, you should stop doing so immediately. Your e-scooter could be seized, and you could be liable for prosecution for traffic offences.”

David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: “The use of e-scooters has shot up over the last few months and I know from talking to members of the public that a lot of people are very concerned about them – particularly when they’re ridden along pavements and cycle lanes.
“I’m very pleased to see Dorset Police taking proactive steps to tell riders exactly where and how they are allowed to use their e-scooters. This advice is very clear and there should be no excuse for anyone riding one of these scooters illegally anywhere in our county.
“I’d also like to echo the warning given by officers that if anyone persists in using their e-scooter on public land, the device could be seized, and they could be prosecuted.”

Legality of using e-scooters:

  •  The only place you can ride a privately owned e-scooter is on private land with the landowner’s permission.
  •  It is against the law to ride an e-scooter on any public land. This includes roads, pavements, cycle lanes, beach promenades, bridleways, or any publicly accessible land such as parks and car parks. 
  • An e-scooter is classed as a powered transporter and they are treated as a motor vehicle and fall under the Road Traffic Act 1988. They are subject to the same legal requirements as motor vehicles. This includes MOT, tax, licensing, insurance, and specific construction regulations.
  •  If you are caught using a powered transporter (e-scooter) on a public road, pavement, or other prohibited space you are committing a criminal offence and could be prosecuted.
  • Your e-scooter could be seized, you could end up with a fine, penalty points or even disqualification from driving. 
  • The Government are running trials for renting e-scooters. To find out if these are taking place in an area near you go to their website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-scooter-trials-guidance-for-users  
  •  You can find out more about e-scooters and powered transporters here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/powered-transporters/information-sheet-guidance-on-powered-transporters 
  • For more information about the trial e-scooter scheme in Bournemouth click here: https://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/travelandtransport/cycle-and-scoot/e-scooter-share.aspx

Message Sent By
Julie Heath (Dorset Police, Neighbourhood Alert Officer, Dorset)