It’s a question we get a lot and it’s not hard to understand why. One obvious reason is the incredible rise in the number of people using electric scooters. Since being introduced in the summer of 2020, as part of ride-share fleets, scooters have quickly become the go-to mode of transport for anyone looking for a better way to navigate urban centres and leave traffic behind.
More people want to ride, so more people want to know how old you have to be to ride.
But another reason for the lack of clarity on this issue is the fact that so much about the legal status of e-scooters is in the process of being established. As we mentioned before, a number of tests and studies are underway that will inform policy decisions to be made later this year regarding where you can and cannot ride an e-scooter, under what circumstances, etc.
With so many details up in the air, it’s understandable that applicable age limits might be assumed to be one of them.
As established for the purposes of these test schemes currently in progress across the country, the legal age for riding e-scooters is sixteen. Additionally, riders are currently required to have a full or provisional driving licence.
We have to stress that this is the legal age in effect now, in the spring of 2021. Be sure to check the most current information if you are reading this at some point later in the year.
As with all the relevant details regarding e-scooters, the applicable age requirement is up for review and may or may not be changed when data from the testing schemes is collected, analysed and delivered to the relevant authorities. Other details include:
- The kinds of public spaces where e-scooters will be allowed
- Helmet laws
- Licencing practices
- The possible need to carry insurance
- Safety measures, including lighting and visibility
- Rules governing the private ownership of scooters, as opposed to their use in ride-share programmes
Stay tuned, more changes coming soon
The fact is that e-scooter riders in the UK are in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment, waiting for the legal framework to be clarified. There is no doubt that the new regulations based on the feedback from the schemes underway now will be significantly less restrictive than current laws. As in many jurisdictions, existing law in the UK is not sufficient to deal with the legal and practical issues raised by the sudden and widespread appearance of e-scooters.
The need to update the legal environment around e-scooters, and the time required to do so, is something we should all be patient with. Good things come in time!
The age requirement for riding an e-scooter in the UK—again, currently 16—is one of those things that, theoretically, could be changed. We’ll find out soon enough.
Needless to say, we urge everyone to respect all applicable regulations at all times.
Keep an eye on the news, though, because big changes are coming soon for e-scooter riders in the UK!