As widely anticipated, the government has set out the changes which will allow for e-scooter trials. They are to be classified as motor vehicles and certain regulations will be relaxed for the trials, but not the need for compulsory motor insurance. The permission for road use will be for authorised hire schemes only and it appears that the insurance arrangements will, in effect, be at fleet level rather than by way of individual policies. Privately bought and owned e-scooters will remain illegal for road use for the time being.
The most recent paper from the EU Council sets out its agreed negotiating position ahead of the legislative trilogue process (the other interlocutors being the Commission and the Parliament) aimed at amending the Motor Insurance Directive and scheduled for the first half of 2020. The question of the scope of the Directive is key.
I spent 24 hours in Paris at the end of the summer and e-scooters seemed to be everywhere. With parts of the metro suspended for improvements I was tempted to use one – scan the QR code, get the app and go – but decided to leave that to the locals, at least for the time being.
How, if at all, to permit and effectively regulate the use of e-scooters in public spaces turns out to be a very topical question. Just this weekend the French authorities implemented new rules bringing e-scooters into the highway code. These include an age limit of at least 12, prohibition of use on footpaths, speed restrictions and insurance arrangements. The French government’s three page infographic about its new law is available here (in French).
Back in the UK, matters are evolving more slowly. At the beginning of August, the House of Commons Library produced a short paper E-scooters: Why are they not legal on UK roads? which sets out the existing regulatory barriers to their use on UK roads and pavements and hints at a possible government consultation later this year.