New legislation in the UK is fast-tracking the path for e-scooters.
New trials are about to begin that may lead to a new classification of light electric vehicles far more generous than those that exist already in the EU. The new legislation may not only pave the way for e-scooters but light electric mopeds as well.
Europe has long allowed the use of light electric vehicles. However, the UK had banned electric scooters from roads, until now.
The trials of e-scooters in the UK has been sped up by more than a year. The trials have been sped up and expanded from four designated future transport zones to the entire country by the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK is interested in increasing micro-mobility, walking, and cycling quickly.
The UK is regulating eScooter rentals the same way as electric bicycles. The government believes that electric scooters will have a similar presence to electric bicycles. Therefore, they’re allowing e-scooters on the road, cycle lanes, and tracks. However, they are not allowed on motorways. Similar to electric bicycles, helmets are not necessary during the trials.
The trials will explore if e-scooters would be categorized as motor vehicles or like electric bicycles. This would establish whether licensing, vehicle registration and other laws related to motor vehicles would apply to e-scooters as well. For the time being a drivers license and motor vehicle insurance is required to operate an e-scooter in the UK.
The UK trial is limiting scooters to 500W and can weight up to 55kg but cannot exceed 15.5 mph (a bit faster than the 25kph seen in the EU). Vehicles with saddles are also allowed. These are currently categorized as a “moped” in the EU.
The trial is expected to commence at the end of August 2020 and continue for 12 months before legislative changes are made.