Electric Scooters Arer There Loopholes

E Scooters in the UK, Laws and Loopholes

When Emily Hartridge, a British YouTuber, died tragically last Friday, it wasn’t just her high profile that got the attention; it was that she died on an electric folding scooter.

Emily Hartridge E Scooter
Emily Hartridge E Scooter

The TV presenter and mental health advocate, who developed a career on her YouTube series “10 Reasons Why” was hit by a lorry while riding the e-scooter at a roundabout in Battersea. Her death was announced on her Instagram account.

This was the first fatal accident reported that involved an electric scooter in London. Less than 24 hours later, a fourteen-year-old boy was left in critical condition while driving a scooter in a suburb of South London.

It has become a bleak but familiar story: in Europe, e-scooters first appeared about a year ago and, since then, fatal accidents have been reported in Barcelona, ​​Paris and Sweden.

But does this recent news warrant such hysteria over an e-scooter?

There are over thirty thousand electric scooters in the UK, and according to the accident involving Emily; her scooter was jolted in front of a lorry due to a stone in the cycle lane.

E Scooter Safety
E Scooter Safety

In my opinion, this could easily have happened to someone on a bicycle. At the moment we have found it difficult to compare the statistics on e-scooter and bicycle fatalities on the UK roads; sure there are far fewer fatalities for e-scooter riders, but that’s to be expected as there are a lot fewer e-scooter riders on British roads.

Based on our own experience; the sales and our customer feedback on our e-scooters and e-bikes, Buzzing Bikes customers have said little to show any difference between the two with regards to safety. Providing you ride responsibly, wear a helmet, wear clothing to make yourself seen and have lights front and rear lights, I don’t see any issue with riding electric scooters.

What the law says about e-scooters.

This is where things get a bit blurry. Under UK law, most electric scooters are not legal for street use unless they are properly registered, and the government shows no indication that the law (based on the 1835 regulations on driving horses and carts) may change any time soon.

Man Riding Electric Scooter Past Parliament Square London
Man Riding Electric Scooter Past Parliament Square London

Some scooters are technically classified as mopeds, although even that classification can be a bit difficult. One solution for this is to obtain our {VERSION TO CHANGE BICYCLES} which is completely legal on the road; however, you must register, insure and (if your license is after 2001) you must complete a CBT to use it legally.

For many people, {Our Scooter} has more grunt than many motorcycles and you won’t have to worry about getting harassed by the Local Police and that may be the best solution for you.

What Loopholes are there for E-Scooters?

From what I can see, there are not many loopholes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any! Now with Boris as PM, there may be hope; he was, after all, very sympathetic to the Hoverboard Ban and I am optimistic that the laws will change very soon.

For the time being, if I were determined to have a folding e-scooter for my commute to work, I would do the following common-sense practices:

  • Ride responsibly – yes, that’s right, demonstrate the ability to self-govern and the authorities will be less likely to try and govern you. If you are going to ride like a prick, then you’re not going to be doing yourself any favours. I regularly hear from people that the Police don’t use their discretion anymore, they are too focused on issuing tickets; however, this statement is often made by people who rarely apply their discretion to situations.
  • Choose a sensible route – Similar to my point above, choose a rational path, one which even if it is a little longer, will get you there more smoothly. If the routes are on private land, all the better; there is no restriction there. Canal/Towpaths are also a right choice, in my opinion, providing you have a bell and lights, be courteous, let people know when you are coming by, (e-scooters are notoriously quiet, and we don’t want to be alarming people by springing upon them).
  • Get a subtle Scooter – Like out Buzzing Bikes Stealth Scooter, at first glance, it appears like a bog-standard kick scooter. There are no apparent motors, wires or anything oversized. Then if you see someone likely to make themselves “busy” over your “evil” scooter, you can scoot for a few seconds till you pass them. One thing I have on my e-scooter is an inhibitor switch, something straightforward to fit; and on the one time I was confronted by a park warden last year I said, ‘the motor does not work, it’s broken and if you can get it to run you’re welcome to have a go.’ I even received an apology from him; he didn’t seem so bad after all:-)!
  • Wear a helmet! – As a kid, I used to despise helmets. I never wore them; it didn’t matter if I was rollerblading (remember the 90’s), skateboarding, on my BMX or on a petrol quad or motocross; I saw the helmet as something only “sissys” wore. Being the hypocrite I am, when I bought my four-year-old daughter her Electric Quad [link here], I bought her a helmet that would not have looked out of place at the Red Bull Motorcross.
    I had people commenting on how “overkill” it looked and ‘how can she even support her head?’ I simply showed the massive scuff on the top of the helmet and said, ‘that was from the other week when she flipped the quad upside down, its better to scuff the helmet than crack her head open’.

The key reason for the hysteria is that the public and the Police are understandably trying to avoid accidents and fatalities on the British roads; so while we are waiting for the road laws to evolve from the 1800s for the time being let’s apply some common sense.

If you follow the above advice, you will be fine, and if you want to ride an electric scooter with absolute impunity then I would suggest the Road Legal Scooter which is also folding, has indicators, brakes and lights, which tick all the boxes. You will need to use the {REGISTER FORM} and have insurance / CBT licence, but these are minor inconveniences.

Another alternative are our {Folding e-bikes}; we have one which is a similar size to the Brompton; as good, if not better spec for a fraction of the price. It is not the same as a folding electric scooter, and if you are reading this you probably know what you’re looking for, however, when we consider the similarities in size, price, speed and range, and more to the point, legal ramifications that govern all of that, we see {Folding Electric Bycicles} as a sensible alternative to consider.

Click here to Support the petition to help legalise electric scooters!

We hope this has been helpful, please feel free to comment and to ask questions amongst yourselves or to our staff. Also, any suggestions for future reviews or blog-posts will be much appreciated.