London e-scooters could be here to stay as ministers plan legal shakeup

Lona Huebner

Private e-scooters could be legalised within the next year, MyLondon understands. Currently, private e-scooters are completely illegal, except for use on land you own. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from using them on London’s roads. The surge in use of e-scooters has ramped up pressure on the government […]

Private e-scooters could be legalised within the next year, MyLondon understands.

Currently, private e-scooters are completely illegal, except for use on land you own. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from using them on London’s roads.

The surge in use of e-scooters has ramped up pressure on the government to change the law and put them on a firm legal footing.

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Trials are currently taking place across England – including London – to see whether e-scooters can be safely hired.

In London, Lime, Dott and TIER are running the trials in nine boroughs, plus the City of London.

In October, Mayor Sadiq Khan said the government was eager to change the law to put e-scooters on a firmer footing.

He told the Assembly: “Let us see what works. The Secretary of State I know is quite keen on e-scooters being properly done and will have legislation introduced. We should work together to make sure that legislation is fit for purpose.”

Transport for London says the trials are vital to enable a “new and greener” form of transport, helping to reduce air pollution.

The government-backed trials in London have now been extended until at least the end of March 2022, though TfL rules allow this to be extended as late as November next year.

Silviya Barrett, Head of Policy and Research at the Campaign for Better Transport, said the government was working on draft legislation to legalise e-scooters after the trials – but is struggling to find the time in the parliamentary calendar.



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One option would be to extend the trials until there is time for new legislation, though this would mean private e-scooters would remain illegal for the foreseeable future.

Conservative Assembly Member Neil Garratt told MyLondon the current legal situation is “not sustainable” in the long term.

“They either need to be banned completely or legalised and regularised – which more or less every other European country has now done.

“Currently you walk into a reputable shop, buy one, then set off riding it, which is illegal. It’s almost a form of entrapment. The law sets them up to fail,” he said.

London transport bosses view the hire trials as a success so far. There were 100,000km of for-hire scooter trips made in the capital in October, with an average distance of 2.5km.

However, three serious injuries on the hire scooters were reported in October, bringing the total to nine since June.

While throwing its weight behind the scooter hire scheme, City Hall has been clamping down on privately owned scooters.

Pledging “robust” action against illegal scooter use in the capital, Sadiq Khan told the Assembly last month: “Through June, the MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command…ran an operation targeting illegal e-scooter use, which led to a record 1,103 unlawful e-scooters being seized in a single month.”

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