Search icon


25th Sep 2020

The UK could be finally getting rental e-scooters

The government has tabled regulations making them legal on British roads

Josh Kaplan

Several years after they made their debut in cities across the US and mainland Europe, E-scooters for rent could be coming to our green and pleasant shores.

The government has tabled legislations that would allow E-scooters to be used and operated on British roads. At present, e-scooters are defined as a “motor vehicle” in the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the use of e-scooters is not allowed on public roads or on pavements.

According to official parliament records:

“The instrument would enable trials of e-scooters on public roads, by defining the characteristics of e-scooters taking part in the trials and exempting them from certain requirements. For example:

  • removing the requirement to hold a vehicle licence and registration for an e-scooter being used in the trial;
  • removing the requirement for a driver to wear a motorcycle helmet when riding an e-scooter being used in a trial;
  • removing requirements for driving licence holders (and provisional licence holders) to have completed basic moped training prior to riding an e-scooter taking part in the trial; and
  • permitting an e-scooter being used in the trial to use cycle lanes.”

Opening up these trials would clear the way for companies like Bird, Lime and Uber to expand their operations and potentially start renting out scooters as they currently do in cities like LA, Milan and Vienna.

Currently the only place where rental E-scooters are legal is the former Olympic park in Stratford as it’s private land and they don’t work if you take them beyond the perimeter.

E-Scooter company Bird, who operate the vehicles in the Olympic park said:”In the coming weeks, we look forward to launching our industry-leading scooters in cities across the UK. We’ll share more information on dates and locations as the moment nears. For the time being, we’d simply like to thank government leaders for taking this progressive step towards sustainable personal mobility, along with our Bird team members and partners in the UK who have worked tirelessly to get us to this point.”

Earlier this month, an NHS worker from Bristol was arrested after using an E-scooter in Bristol.