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Are electrically powered micro scooters legal to ride on the road?

With more and more electrically powered adult-sized scooters appearing in big cities, Visordown’s gives you the legal lowdown on these lightweight machines

MICRO-SCOOTERS (or PLEVs – Personal Light Electric Vehicles) are gaining increasing popularity in big cities around the world, as people look for new ways of getting from A to B, without using the tube or the bus.

They seem to have struck a chord with the hippest of London’s cool kids, who opt to use the scooters as their preferred method of transport for whisking their Yak’s milk latte back to the beanbag covered office.

Now, to start with, I probably wouldn’t be writing this had I not been berated by a micro-scooterist after they changed lanes an inch from my front wheel in Farringdon the other week, and then given me the finger when I bipped my horn to advise I was there! But they did, it happened and here we are!

First off; the scooters we are referring to are the small lightweight and electrically powered type. They can travel up to 15mph in standard trim – although they are easy to tune for more speed should you want to. Some have a claimed range of about 10-15miles and can be recharged from flat to fully charged in about three hours.

Can electric micro-scooters be ridden on the road?

In a word no. Any vehicle that is powered and capable of more than 8mph (ie quicker than a class three mobility scooter) needs to be registered and taxed to be used on the public highway. PLEVs can also not be used on footpaths or in public parks that have footpaths crossing them.

Can you ride a PLEV in a cycle lane?

Nope, to use a cycle lane (either on the road or across public land) the vehicle ridden needs to have pedals to be classed as a bicycle. Electrically assisted pedal cycles are fine but PLEVs are a definite no.

Do you need to register a PLEV?

No, they aren’t road legal and therefore there is nothing to register, it’s the same as buying an electric go-kart to be used off-road only, the DVLA don’t want or need to know it exists.

Do you need insurance for a PLEV?

As with the above, it’s not a matter for insurance companies until such a time that the government requires users to register and tax their vehicles as other road users do.

With so many apparent red-flags to owning this type of electric scooter in the UK, it does beg the question of why do we see so many on the road and seemingly with nothing being done to either legislate to make them legal, or take action against the riders?

Do you share your commute with PLEVs or other electric vehicles? Let us know in the comments below.

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