Over the last six months, electric scooter (e-scooter) related casualties on the roads of Bedfordshire have almost doubled, leading Beds Police to launch a new operation to tackle their illegal use.
Given the large numbers on the streets, pavements and footpaths, it may come as a surprise to know that privately-owned e-scooters are currently illegal to use on public roads.
In Bedfordshire, if you’re found to be using one, you could receive up to six points on your licence, a £300 fine and your scooter could be seized.
It is only legal to use a private e-scooter or powered transporter on private land with the permission of the landowner.
Currently, e-scooters fall within the legal definition of a ‘motor vehicle’, meaning the same laws that apply to motor vehicles apply to them.
- Riding with insurance
- Driving dangerously or under the influence (which can lead to the possibility of imprisonment)
- Conformity with technical standards and standards of use
- Payment of vehicle tax, licensing, and registration
- Driver testing and licensing
- The use of relevant safety equipment
The government is currently running trials of rental e-scooters in specific areas across the country. This includes neighbouring counties such as Milton Keynes and Cambridge, but they are not currently being trialled in Bedfordshire.
Rental e-scooter trials have a number of measurements in place to ensure they are safe for that community, such as;
- A maximum speed limit of 15.5mph
- A rider must have a category q driving licence
- The rental operator will provide insurance
- In some cases, riders are asked to complete an online course beforehand
Inspector Ed Finn from the Bedford Community Policing team, and leading the operation, said: “This week, we are launching an operation to take action against people who continually break the law by choosing to illegally ride e-scooters.
“We completely understand that there may be some confusion surrounding the legalities of riding e-scooters, especially when there are legal rental schemes in neighbouring counties.
“Our officers have worked really hard with partners, local schools and local transport agencies to try and educate people around the legal implications it could have for them.
“Our community have been telling us the impact these items are having on them and now we are taking action.”
These types of vehicles have also been linked to the exploitation of children via drug dealing, with organised crime gangs encouraging young drug runners to use e-scooters to get around, rather than other transport methods like buses, trains or taxis.
“We want the public to be aware of the impact using an e-scooter illegally can have on them, including points on your licence, which will sit on your record until you are old enough to have one,” added Inspector Finn.