E-bikes & E-scooter Laws: Everything you need to know!

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a new demand for alternative modes of transport as commuters are reluctant to go back to crowded public trains and buses. We have seen an increase in the need for electric bicycles and scooters which have recently been legalised for use on our streets.

There is great uncertainty around the law regulating electric bikes/scooters and this may change in the near future.

What is an e-bike?

Electric bicycles are bicycles with an electric motor which assists the user’s pedal power.

Unlike mopeds and motorcycles, e-bikes do not require third party insurance or a driving licence to ride. They are permitted on roads and cycle lanes as per normal pedal bicycles.

The biggest legal difference between an e-bike and a motorcycle is that an e-bike only offers electrical assistance; a rider still is required to pedal in order for the e-bike to move.

What is a Powered Light Electric Vehicle?

An e-scooter is classed as what the Government refer to as a Powered Light Electric Vehicle (PLEV). This includes other types of transports such as electric scooters, Segways, hoverboards, electric unicycles and electric skateboards.

Personal Injury Concerns:

  • They may form a tripping hazard on the pavement as people can leave them wherever it suits them.
  • These vehicles can be fast moving and silent which can cause difficulty for partially sighted people.
  • There is also concern that due to the many rental scooters, people may use personal scooters without an appropriate licence/insurance. Currently if you rent a scooter, the dental company have the responsibility of ensuring the vehicle is insured and the user has a driving licence.
  • E-bikes accelerate much faster than traditional bikes which may mean resulting accidents and injuries are more severe.
  • If a claimant is injured by an illegal rider, the defence of illegality may be raised. Fortunately, this defence is difficult to establish.

E-Scooter Pilot

On the 4th of July 2020, the Electric Scooter Trials and Traffic Signs (Coronavirus) Regulations and General Directions 2020, came into force that introduced rental e-scooters. The government has not proposed removal of mandatory third-party insurance nor the requirement of a driving licence.

If the pilot is successful, we might see an expansion of rental schemes across the UK in the short, potentially leading to privately-owned PLEVs on UK roads without the need for a driving licence or third-party insurance. As it stands, if you’re caught using a privately-owned electric scooter on public land, you’re liable to receive a £300 fine, 6 points on your license and the possibility of having your scooter confiscated.

Speak to our Personal Injury Solicitors

At Browell Smith & Co Solicitors, our legal experts have a wealth of experience in handling personal injury cases and are always happy to discuss matters with you. Contact our expert team today to arrange a free initial telephone consultation or alternatively use our Call Back Request or Live Chat function on our website.

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