Like drones, electric scooters are widely disliked in the UK at the moment. But the reason behind this is a small minority of owners who use their devices in an antisocial manner.
With e-scooters, that tends to be riding way too fast on the pavement, running red lights and weaving around in a dangerous way on the road.
Of course, since privately-owned electric scooters remain illegal to use on the roads and pavements, the vast majority shouldn’t even be on those roads and pavements.
Currently, only rental e-scooters are legal to use in certain cities (including London), but that hasn’t stopped people buying and riding their own scooters.
It’s surely only a matter of time before the UK Government approves electric scooters for use on the road as they are a much greener method of travel and would help cut down on CO2 emissions.
One of the most popular places to buy an electric scooter is Halfords, which goes to great lengths to remind buyers that they can only ride on privately owned land with the permission of the landowner.
The company has created an interactive world map called Planet E-scooter, in collaboration with Xiaomi, one of the most popular manufacturers of the devices. Its Mi Scooter Pro 2 is the latest model and is already a regular sight in UK cities.
You can click on a country to find out exactly how electric scooters can be used, such as whether it’s legal to ride them on roads, in cycle lanes and on footpaths.
The majority of developed countries have already acknowledged that e-scooters are an effective way to commute and have introduced legislation to facilitate their safe use. Some countries treat e-scooters like bicycles, while others require you to wear a helmet and have a driving licence.
E-scooters were legalised in New York last year, following heated debates.
One aspect that could prove problematic for UK buyers is that no decisions have been made yet about whether the 15.5mph speed limit used for electric bikes will also apply to e-scooters and whether a 250W motor will be the maximum allowed.
There’s no requirement for electric bikes to have front and rear lights, but it may be mandatory for scooters.
Halfords is one retailer which has been calling for a clear set of regulation that makes e-scooters safe to ride on the UK’s roads and ensures riders behave responsibly and with due care and attention.
Matt Banks, Halfords E-mobility expert said: “From the increasing e-scooter demand we’re seeing in the UK; it seems like the public may not be aware of the legality of e-scooters. This interactive map will give people an insight into how UK law compares to the laws around the world.”
“Along with e-bikes, the safe use of e-scooters has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel and with new legislation they potentially could offer a greener and safer alternative to those who wish to avoid public transport at this time.”
The research revealed that some Asian countries, including China and Indonesia, are providing subsidies to manufacturers in order promote the use of e-scooters as a means of tackling air pollution.
That’s not going to happen in the UK, but when the rental trials finish this summer we’re hopeful (along with everyone who already took the plunge and bought an e-scooter) that the government will legalise them for use on the roads and in cycle lanes.
Once regulations are in place, and if riders abide by the rules, it should appease those who think they’re a nuisance and a danger. Who knows, it may even ease congestion in London and other cities and bring down CO2 emissions.
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