The Rise of E-Scooters and Are they Here to Stay?

By now, it won’t have escaped your attention that there is a new mode of transport popping up. Scooters used to be strictly for children and teenagers, requiring a lot of effort on two small wheels, but now, as part of a growing tech trend, they’ve been given electric motors to help power commutes and basic travel.

It can be quite a divisive topic, but this month let’s take a look at why they’ve gotten so popular, whether they’re legal and how long the trend might last – as well as how much one might set you back!

It is absolutely legal to buy an e-scooter, with many big retailers and cycle stores getting in on the act of selling them for large sums. However, it is not currently legal to ride an e-scooter on pavements, roads or anywhere other than private land with the permission of the landowner.

Fines and driving licence penalty points can be given out if you’re found to be riding an e-scooter – so it’s never a good idea to be doing so anywhere other than private land.

They are illegal to use on roads due to the simple fact that they cannot be taxed, insured or held to the standard of an MOT in the same way a car or motorbike is. However, there are areas in the UK, and around the world, where it is legal thanks to government-backed schemes. Let’s take a look at those schemes next.

Government Scooter Schemes

2020 and 2021 saw the launch of multiple e-scooter schemes up and down the country. This has been part of a trial to find out whether these souped-up rides can be a potential avenue for lowering emissions and easing congestion in cities. 

On the surface, this seems like a great idea, with plenty of companies lined up to fulfil the need with jazzy names such as Wind, Ginger, Voi, Zipp and Spin, but they’ve proven controversial in some of the trial areas – more on this in the next section. 

Marvels or Menaces?

The emergence of e-scooters as a form of transport hasn’t been universally welcomed. Despite the attempt to provide a cleaner form of transport, the trials have seen their fair share of controversy, with accidents and near-misses quite common. 

The reason for this, however, is that people have been misusing the scooters. In the trial areas, they are only to be ridden on the road, but frequently are found zipping up and down pavements. As an agile piece of kit, it was always going to happen, but it puts pedestrians and riders in danger since some scooters can reach speeds of up to 15mph.

Another form of misuse by riders is people pairing up. Two passengers might seem like fun, but it can lead to an imbalance of weight – sometimes exceeding the weight limit also when ridden by two adults.

How much do electric scooters cost?

Despite not technically being legal to ride in the UK outside of the trial schemes, people are still looking to source their own personal e-scooters. The cost can vary, with the cheapest models coming in at around £100, while for a fully kitted out model you can expect to pay thousands of pounds. 

As with most things in life, you tend to get what you pay for with e-scooters, but since they’re a relatively new trend it’s hard to say what the best e-scooter on the market is. Maybe if e-scooters are made legal and are policed better in future, there will be more of a consensus on the best price.

For now though, it seems like the e-scooter trend is here to stay, going from a novelty and something of a children’s toy to a quirky and inventive way of getting around for adults. Trials continue to take place and there is even a plan to trial AI technology to try and combat reckless riding in the near future.