From riding on a pavement to having a valid licence: Everything you need to know about electric scooters

There are trials taking place across the country, including Birmingham and Nottingham, to look at how electric scooters could be incorporated into every day public transport. Credit: PA

Electric scooters are slowly becoming part of normal life in cities across the country. Trials in cities like Birmingham, Nottingham and London are currently underway. But with more stories reported of people being seriously injured or even worse, dying, when riding a scooter, what are the rules around riding an e-scooter?

Can I ride my own electric scooter?

No. You are only allowed to use electric scooters on private land with the permission of the land owner and in certain areas undergoing government trials.

If you are not using a scooter as part of a trial, it is illegal in spaces set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders and anyone using them on a public road can be prosecuted.

You could face a fine, get penalty points on your licence and the e-scooter could be impounded.

And in trial zones, you must only use the scooters provided by designated companies running the trial. Private scooters cannot be used on public roads, even in the trial zones where scooters are permitted.

Where are the trials happening?

Trials are currently taking place in areas including Derby, Northamptonshire, Nottingham, Redditch, Staffordshire and West Midlands.

You must use one of the registered apps to sign up and you can only use the scooters during permitted hours and in certain areas.

For example, if you try to ride a scooter along canals in Birmingham, it will automatically stop and you will not be able to proceed. Similarly, it's often the case that the apps will not let you unlock a scooter at night. This is to ensure that no one rides a scooter drunk or intoxicated, as careless and dangerous driving offences also apply to users of e-scooters.

It's illegal to ride scooters on the pavement, they should be used in cycle lanes and on roads. Credit: PA

Do I need a licence to take part in the trial?

You must have the category Q entitlement on your driving licence. When you sign up to the apps, you must take pictures of both sides of your current valid licence.

A full or provisional UK licence for categories AM, A or B includes entitlement for category Q. If you have one of these licences, you can use an e-scooter.

What if I only have a provisional licence?

You can still ride them, and you do not need to show L plates when using an e-scooter.

Can I ride the e-scooters on pavements?

No, you may use it on the road and in cycle lanes, but not on pavements.

How fast do they go?

The maximum speed for an e-scooter is 15.5mph. Sometimes they automatically go slower than this in designated "slow zones."

You should always park your scooters upright and never on the floor, blocking the pathway. Credit: PA

Do I need my own insurance to hire a scooter?

E-scooters must have motor insurance, but you do not need to arrange this as this will be provided by your e-scooter rental operator.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

Government advice and rental firms recommend you wear a cycle helmet when using an e-scooter, but they are not a legal requirement.

As with riding a bicycle, it's recommended you wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing so that other road users can see you in daylight, poor light and in the dark.

Some apps like Voi, being trialled in cities like Birmingham, give rewards such as money off if you take a selfie of you with your helmet on.

Where can I park them?

You should never park them in the road and only on pavements. You may be fined if you leave them on the floor or in areas designated as "no parking zones."

From 22 June, in Birmingham, Voi - which is running the trial - released an update saying that you can only park them in their own designated parking bays. These zones are clear on the app.

Always check the app or the rental provider before parking the e-scooter anywhere.

Can I share the scooter with anyone?

No, e-scooters should be used by one person at a time.

It is government advice to wear a helmet whilst riding a scooter, but it is not mandatory. Credit: PA