E-scooter riders can be hit with a huge £300 fine and up to six points on their driving licence for breaking the current rules in place for rental trial schemes across the country, it has been revealed.
Not only could that sting users with big up-front fees, but it can also have a long-term impact on their finances, according to a comparison website.
Adding six points to a licence will push motor insurance premiums higher by around 25 per cent, meaning motorists could be feeling the pain of e-scooter misuse for years, says Quotezone.
Riding with risk: E-scooter riders are being warned that they could be stung with fines of £300 and 6 penalty points on their licence if they are caught using personal e-scooters on the road
E-scooters are classified as ‘Personal Light Electric Vehicles’. That means users are subject to the same laws as drivers and motorcycle riders under the Road Traffic Act 1988.
As a result, riders can receive equivalent offences and sentencing – for instance getting three points for jumping a red or amber traffic light – as a driver in a car.
This is also the case for riding one uninsured, which harbours a punishment in the shape of six points and a £300 slap on the wrist.
Any endorsements for e-scooter offences go directly onto a driving record – even if you haven’t got a full licence yet.
It goes without saying that car insurance premiums rise the more offences that are committed.
In fact, the average amount an offence adds onto a drivers’ premium is £139, according to the most recent analysis by MoneySuperMarket.
However, adding six points to a licence due to an e-scooter offence will push insurance costs up by a quarter, Quotezone estimates.
An E-scooter seized in Chichester, West Sussex after being spotted overtaking cars at more than 30mph and tailgating on a busy road. Its rider had no insurance and was only wearing a flimsy cycle helmet
‘Premiums on your motor insurance are likely to be adversely affected if you are reprimanded for riding an e-scooter outside of rental zones,’ explains road traffic lawyer, Nick Freeman – better known as Mr Loophole for his successful case defences for a host of celebrity clients facing driving offences.
‘While e-scooters must have motor insurance, individuals don’t need to arrange this as it’s provided by the rental operator.
‘It’s important to remember that private e-scooters can only be used on private land.
‘If a rider is caught using one on a public road, they could face a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on their licence for failing to have insurance. The scooter can also be impounded.’
Not only does e-scooter use threaten a individual’s finances, it could also result in them losing their driving licence.
Under the New Driver Act 1995, a motorist’s licence can be revoked if they accumulate six or more points within two years of passing their test.
This was the case for 11,125 individuals last year who racked up points for a multitude of driving crimes, This is Money revealed exclusively back in May.
Young e-scooter riders aren’t exempt, either.
Provisional licence holders can also receive the fines and points, which can be carried over to when a learner does pass their test.
With points staying on a licence for three years, it means anyone with a provisional who receives six points for riding an e-scooter uninsured would automatically have their licence revoked if they passed their theory and practical tests.
They would then have to wait for the points to clear and go through the – expensive – process of re-taking and passing their tests.
There are numerous schemes for rental e-scooters in the UK. This includes the Voi E-scooter trial in Cambridge
Residents and visitors Cambridge can now hire one of the 50 E-scooters which are being trialled for a year
E-scooters use a small engine, usually powered by an electric motor with some capable of speeds exceeding 30mph.
Halfords recently said sales have shot up by 30 per cent in the last year to around 50,000 units, despite personal-use e-scooters being banned from use of public highways.
Despite this, plenty of people see them as a cheaper and greener way to travel – especially at a time when social distancing in recommended as well as finding alternatives to public transport.
Only rental scooters are currently legally permitted for use on public roads – with the vehicles banned from footpaths entirely.
Trials are currently taking place in some 34 locations, including Darlington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough in the north of England, Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton in the west midlands and cathedral cities such as Canterbury and York.
Rental trials are also widely expected to be introduced in the capital.
And there could be further growth in sales if organisations such as the London Cycle Campaign prevail – it is calling for e-scooters to be legalised and permitted on public cycle tracks.
‘You are only allowed to ride an e-scooter on public roads if rented as part of the Government trial. And users are required to have a driving licence in some form – including a moped or provisional licence .You can apply for this from the age of 16.
Halfords recently said sales have shot up by 30 per cent in the last year to around 50,000 units, despite personal-use e-scooters being banned from use of public highways
An investigation by Quotezone revealed that Londoners accounted for more than two thirds (68 per cent) of all recorded injuries nationwide involving e-scooters, suggesting commuters in the capital view motorised scooters as a cheap and easy way to navigate London’s congested roads.
The figures cover 2018 and 2019 and show that men between the ages of 25 and 64 make up half of all casualties.
Men also account for 80 per cent of all injured e-scooter riders.
Greg Wilson founder of the comparison site, said: ‘For those thinking of investing in an e-scooter this Christmas, you need to be aware that you can’t use them in public spaces unless via rental schemes.
‘You don’t want to run the risk of adding points to your licence and potentially increasing the cost of your car insurance premium.’
Mr Freeman says he has two ‘principal concerns’ about e-scooter use.
‘There is no requirement for the holder of a provisional licence to display L-plates on an e -scooter and they also do not have a registration plate – therefore the rider can commit offences without being identified,’ he explained.