The rise of the e-scooter has been one of the biggest lockdown trends in the UK, as people look for greener and more socially distanced alternatives to public transport.
However, GoCompare Car Insurance is warning that privately-owned e-scooters remain illegal on public roads, cycle paths and pavements and drivers face a £300 fine and six points on their licence, if caught.
According to Google Trends data, since the start of lockdown there has been a surge in interest in electric scooters – with a 376% increase in searches1. E-Scooters are freely available to buy in the UK but can only be ridden on private land with the permission of the landowner.
In addition to a fine and six points on their licence, drivers will face higher car insurance premiums as a result of a conviction and the police also have the power to confiscate the scooter. The consequences are even more severe for newly qualified drivers who are only allowed six points on their licence in the first two years of driving, so could end up losing their licence.
From 4 July, the government started limited, legal trials of rented electric scooters on public roads, cycle paths and lanes as part of its review of transport following the easing of lockdown. During the year-long trial e-scooters will be classified as motor vehicles and people will need a driving licence and insurance to ride one. Use of the rental scooters will be legal and insurance will be provided by the rental provider.
Lee Griffin, founder and CEO of GoCompare Car Insurance commented, “Privately-owned e-scooters are currently banned from use on the public highway but, this doesn’t seem to be deterring people from using them. We’re concerned that following government advice to avoid public transport because of the pandemic, more people will buy an e-scooter to use for short journeys, without perhaps realising that they can only use them on private land. There’s also the potential for people to be confused by the government’s rental trials into thinking that privately-owned electric scooters are now road-legal, when this isn’t the case.
“Unlike electric bicycles, e-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles and are subject to the same legal requirements as motor vehicles – including technical safety standards, road tax, and insurance. Private electric scooters currently on the market don’t meet these requirements so, can’t be used legally on the road.
“The consequences for drivers caught flouting e-scooter rules can be costly. As well as receiving an on-the-spot fine, drivers face having six penalty pointed added to their licence. Car insurers view drivers with a motoring conviction as a greater risk and increase premiums accordingly. The consequences are even more severe for newly qualified drivers who are only allowed to rack-up six points in the first two years of driving, so could end up losing their licence. To be allowed on the roads again, they must reapply for a provisional licence and re-take both the theory and practical parts of the driving test.”
For information on how points on your licence can affect your car insurance visit: https://www.gocompare.com/car-insurance/guide/how-driving-convictions-impact-car-insurance/
Government guidance on e-scooters: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/powered-transporters/information-sheet-guidance-on-powered-transporters
For further information please contact:
Anders Nilsson at GoCompare on 01633 654 054
Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845
Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare
Notes to editors
1Google Trends Data 22/03/20 to 04/07/20.
GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.
GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.
When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.
GoCompare is the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).