If it’s your first time buying a Personal Electric Vehicle, you’ve probably wondered about the electric scooter law in Europe. Even though getting around is a lot more fun when you’re riding your scooter, you wouldn’t want to be caught breaking the law, right?
Before you get attracted to the tons of companies advertising their best scooters, you need to know about road safety rules first.
Are electric scooter legal in Europe?
Read on to find out about the latest electric scooter law in Europe.
Electric Scooter Law in the UK
Are electric scooter legal in the UK?
If it’s for personal use, you can sell or buy an electric scooter in the UK without any problems. However, if you’re planning on riding it on pavements, roads, and cycle lanes, you might encounter some legal issues.
In a simpler explanation, the use of electric scooters can only be considered legal if they’re on private lands and with permission from the landowner.
In July 2020, new regulations that allow the trials of rental e-scooters were enforced. The places where these trials are happening are quite limited. The most recent ones include Bath, Bristol, and South Gloucestershire.
If you want to participate in the trial, you won’t need to secure insurance. However, you’ll need to have a driving license for it.
Once you have them, you can use your hired e-scooter legally but within specified geographical boundaries.
If you go beyond those areas, you’re likely to be given a £300 fixed-penalty notice
For the trials, four zones were chosen. The list includes Portsmouth and Southampton, West Midlands, Derby and Nottingham, and the West of England Combined Authority.
In the trials, e-scooters can only be used up to a maximum speed of 15.5 mph. In some areas, it can be lower. In other areas, holding a driving license, either full or provisional, is necessary.
E-scooters are classified as PLEVs or Personal Light Electric Vehicles in the UK. As such, they are treated as motor vehicles and they go through the same requirements.
Now, because electric scooters don’t have signaling abilities, number plates or even rear red lights, they can’t be allowed to be driven on public roads. Without such features, they are likely to cause accidents.
Electric Scooter Law in France
The rising number of vehicular incidents resulting in deaths has encouraged France to rethink its regulation about electric scooters.
In France, you need to be at least 12 years of age to be able to ride an e-scooter. If you meet the age requirement, you’ll be allowed to ride it but not on pavements and country roads.
Failure to comply will cost you a €135 fine.
Electric scooters are allowed to be driven up to a maximum speed of 25 km/hour. Riding beyond that speed limit can cost you €1,500 in fines.
Now, if you’ll be riding it on allowed faster roads, you’ll be required to wear high-visibility clothing as well as a helmet.
For safety, only one person at a time will be allowed to ride an e-scooter. The use of mobile phones and headphones while riding is against the law.
Additionally, electric scooters can’t be driven against the traffic law. Riders are encouraged to always use cycle paths whenever possible.
Electric Scooter Law in Germany
In Germany, electric scooters are allowed on public roads since June 14, 2019. However, like other light electric vehicles, their use comes with several provisions.
For one, riders are highly encouraged to use the bike lanes. If there are none, they can be used on the streets.
They can also be used on public roads if there’s valid insurance and if the e-scooter fits the requirements.
If a scooter is made following the rules provided by the law, it’ll get an ABE or Allgemeine Betriebserlaubnis. This is generally printed on the electric scooter.
To secure the ABE, the scooter needs to have a holding or steering bar. It should have a maximum motor power of no more than 1500 Watt and a maximum speed of 20 km/hour.
There need to be front and rear lights, independent brakes, and a horn. The manufacturer’s name must also be indicated. The same goes for the ABE and the scooter’s model ID.
Now, is ABE necessary?
The answer is yes. Without securing an ABE, you won’t be able to get insurance and an insurance sticker. Without them, you won’t be allowed to drive your electric scooter around.
To ensure public safety, there are also some regulation of conduct that need to be observed
For example, if there are multiple riders, they are only allowed to drive behind each other. They are discouraged from holding onto each other’s vehicles. Driving no-handed is not allowed as well.
When it comes to age, children who are younger than 14 years old aren’t allowed to ride electric scooters.
Electric Scooter Law in Other European Countries
Are Electric Scooters Legal in Spain?
Beginning January 2021, electric scooters are legally considered vehicles in Spain. However, despite being legal, they can’t be used on pavements, motorways,s or through tunnels.
Plus, their maximum speed is set at 25 km/h. The decrease in speed limit reflects the government’s attempt to make the vehicle safe to use on the road.
If you are thinking about getting an e-scooter in the region, you need to get a circulation certificate first. This will be provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Although there is no regulation requiring riders to wear helmets, they need to wear reflective vests. The use of mobile phones and headphones isn’t allowed. And like other vehicles, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can cause legal problems.
Are Electric Scooters Legal in Belgium?
Just like in Spain, electric scooters are also legally allowed in Belgium. They can be used on public roads as long as they meet the requirements.
In terms of speed, the limit is set to 25 km/hour. If your e-scooter goes beyond that speed, you’ll be required to secure a driver’s license. You’ll need a helmet, number plate, and insurance, too.
Riders are required to have proper brakes on their e-scooters. A warning device is also necessary.
Are Electric Scooters Legal in Denmark?
Since January 2019, the use of e-scooters in Denmark’s bike lanes is considered legal. The set maximum speed is lower than other countries as it is set at 20 km/hour.
When it comes to age, drivers need to be 15 years old at least to be allowed to use an e-scooter. Obviously, traffic rules must be observed at all times.
On the other side of the coin, some people are displeased with the legalization of e-scooter use on pavements and cycle paths. There are others who simply abandon their vehicles in random places, causing chaos.
One reason for this is the lack of structure among e-scooter rental companies. They don’t have designated locations for pick-ups and drop-offs. Users are simply leaving them around the city for others to use.
Are Electric Scooters Legal in Sweden?
In Sweden, electric scooters are allowed as long as their maximum speed is at 20km/hour and their engine power is maxed at 250W. Anyone can ride them but for those who are younger than 15 years old, helmets are required.
However, for e-scooters that go beyond 20km/hour and those with larger engine power, they aren’t allowed on roads that are covered by traffic rules. They can only be used on fenced areas and private roads.
When it comes to bringing your electric scooter on a train or bus, there are no restrictions. However, you must ensure that they can’t cause any mess to other riders and the seats.
For flying with e-scooters, there are different rules and they vary between airports and countries.
Are Electric Scooters Legal in Ireland?
Compared with other European countries, Ireland is a bit behind when it comes to e-scooter legalization. The good news is that legalization might happen this 2021.
Lawmakers need to come up with clear rules on where electric scooters can be parked and where they can be used. They are using other countries’ experiences in coming up with answers.
In addition to allowing electric scooters on the road legally, the legalization may also draw a line between motor vehicles and electric scooters. It’s also a part of the government’s effort to reduce pollution and congestion by favoring vehicles with low or zero emissions.
Electric scooters offer a long list of benefits. However, just like all the vehicles used on roads, it is important to observe rules and regulations. They are set in place not just for the safety of the riders but the general public as well.
Among the countries in the UK and Europe, most of them have legalized the use of electric scooters under certain conditions. Some have set the maximum speed at 25km/hr while others imposed restrictions on where they’re legally allowed to be used. There are countries that implement strict rules when it comes to design as well as the safety gears for riders.
In Ireland, their legalization is still in the grey area. Fortunately, with the rest of the world favoring e-scooters, they are on their way to creating their own sets of rules and regulations. Soon, they should be able to come up with more concrete requirements on licensing, rider training, safety, and other standards.
Hope this article has helped you in understanding the electric scooter law in Europe better. Welcome to leave your comments below.