France sets out its stall on electric scooter legality, UK begins dialogue

Effective as of October 25th, France has put into legislation its rules on electric scooter use, both on the highway and cycle path.

Responding to a rapidly increasing use relatively quickly, France is an early adopter of specific legislation for the vehicles, which in the UK are not for use on public land.

Retailers selling the vehicles in the UK must, at present, declare that fact with a sale, though the customers seem to be largely flouting the rule in favour of new mobility freedom.

France’s Ministry of Transport has taken the view that electric scooters could help ease its congestion and pollution problems and as such have laid out in stone the following rules:

  • Minimum ridership age of 12
  • Maximum ‘design speed’ of 25 km/h when used on public roads
  • One rider per electric scooter
  • Insurance must be undertaken , while share scheme operators must underwrite insurance for customers
  • No mobile phone use while in charge of an e-scooter
  • No pavement driving, though parking is permitted
  • Cycle path use is permitted, provided the speed is not in excess of 50km/h (outside of urban spaces the scooters must go on cycle paths)
  • Helmet use is recommended (but crucially not mandatory)

In design terms there are further requirements, including the speccing of lights both front and rear, a bell, braking system and reflective properties rear and side.

The punishment for flouting the rules comes in steep from the start. If your electric scooter is built to travel above 25 km/h the penalty sits at €1,500. Multiple people on a single unit will cost between €35 and 135, depending on pavement or road use.

In the past, it has been the case that the UK has fallen loosely in line with European legislation on things like electric bikes; though we may yet be a way off any confirmation of the same.

The House of Lords this week began to debate the subject, yet in traditional HOL style, the conversation digressed into physically dubious anecdotes about cyclists “zig-zagging at speed” on pavements.

The dialogue began with Conservative Lord Naseby pitching the question: “Ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the use of electric scooters on public roads and pavements on (1) road users, and (2) pedestrian safety.”

Allegedly, 100 or more electric scooter users have already seen fines or confiscation in London while the UK decides how to legislate for their use.

From an industry perspective, CI.N understands that numerous businesses have explored stocking up, or have stock in place ready for the approval of new legislation. Others have opted to leave the trade entirely to public share schemes which, once legalised, are likely to flood the market in large numbers.

For further analysis on the trend, check in here.