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UK Is Reconsidering Their Ban on E-Scooters

The U.K. government is now reconsidering some 184-year-old laws that have been keeping electric scooters off public roads [1].

The U.K. government was reported to be ready to initiate “the biggest regulatory review in a generation” to modernize the existing legislation and mobility laws, which hinder innovation. According to the U.K.’s current laws, e-scooters are classified as motor vehicles and are therefore subject to taxation and require a driver license and insurance. The use of scooter on footpaths is illegal, so scooters can only be used on private land. This has currently been exploited by Bird in order to show the demand, by programming their scooters to only run on a designed path in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, so they don’t break the laws [2].

As the trend of mobility services emerged, the U.K. government declared its intention to make sure the country is headed towards zero-emission travel through a diversity of mobility services. Despite that, the government is still clear in its message that walking and cycling should be prioritized when it comes to urban mobility and all the data gathered should be shared “where appropriate” [1].

The scooter companies are positive towards the U.K. government’s action in reviewing the laws. The U.K. is, however, not the only country to ban scooters. Others have also banned them in order to buy time to reform legislation and embrace innovation. For example, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority is looking into new regulations to allow electric scooters to run safely in the city [3].


Personal comments

The hype of electric scooters is still on the rise and has been expanding at an incredible speed across Europe. Last week, City Scooter started a pilot in Vuosaari, Finland [4]. We can definitely anticipate a number of new pilots kicking off as spring comes.  

In the century where new mobility solutions appear almost every year, it is a relief to hear that governments are finally starting to modernize old rules that were set when cars (and carriages) were the only vehicle type that was considered as “road users”. European cities, following many American cities, have begun to work on legislation that enables electric scooters. This is a big step for cities to catch up with the trend and be innovative. I am looking forward to seeing more cities hop on the train to embrace innovation via up-to-date legislation. 


Written by Anne Faxér, RISE Viktoria.



2019-03-19. U.K. to Review 184-Year-Old Law That Bans E-scooters.

2018-11-08. Electric scooters are illegal on public roads in Britain, so startup Bird intends to launch on private land to prove there’s demand for change.

2019-03-11. Dubai bans electric scooters, plans to develop new law.

2019-03-26. City Scooter Comes to Helsinki