With the UK experiencing great summer weather, many people want to use this opportunity to get outside in new and exciting ways. If you own an electric scooter, quad bike or similar mode of transportation, it’s important to understand the rules and your obligations. In this article, we set out how and where you can legally use these types of vehicles.
Powered transporters and the law
A powered transporter is the term used to describe vehicles such as electric scooters, Segways, go-peds and hoverboards. As powered transporters are propelled by a motor, they are considered ‘motor vehicles’ and are treated as such under the law. This means they are subject to the same restrictions as regular cars and motorcycles.
If you wish to use this type of vehicle on the road, it will need to be taxed, registered, insured and have an MOT (where required). You must also hold a valid driving licence for the category of vehicle you wish to use on the road.
The vehicle must meet the legal requirements for road vehicle safety, however the majority of these vehicles do not and therefore will not be ‘road legal’.
Can I use my vehicle on the pavement?
It is a criminal offence to use a motorised vehicle on a public footpath.
Can I use my vehicle in the park?
You are not permitted to use a motorised vehicle in council areas including public parks. There is an exception to this rule where there is a designated area for use of such vehicles.
Using a quad bike or micro bike off-road
Many places have commercially operated areas allowing you to use your own quad bike or mini motorbike, or you may be able to rent them for use. You can also use them on private land provided you have the consent of the landowner.
You do not need to have a valid driving licence to ride a quad bike or micro bike off-road and you do not need to tax the vehicle for off-road use.
Where can I ride an electric bike?
Electric bikes have become increasingly popular and are known as Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs). EAPCs can be used on the road by users over 14 years of age – but the bike must meet certain requirements. You cannot use an EAPC on the pavement.
Do I need a licence to ride my electric bike?
EAPCs are not classed as motor vehicles so you do not need insurance or a driving licence to operate one. You are also not required to pay road tax on an EAPC.
Are electric scooters legal?
Electric scooters are currently subject to government trials in certain parts of the UK, and may become an efficient mode of city transportation in the near future. The government proposes the electric scooters will be permitted for use on the road (except motorways) and cycle lanes – much in the same way as bicycles and EAPCs.
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