Parents have been urged not to buy e-scooters as presents this Christmas, as they could be fined up to £300 and given points of their licence if their children ride the vehicles.
Speaking at a meeting of Wokingham Borough Council, Thames Valley Police chief constable Jason Hogg pointed out it's illegal to use privately-owned e-scooters on the road or in public spaces as it’s not possible to get them insured, adding that the force would be moving to enforcement, "very, very quickly".
Hogg said: "We are going to be prosecuting the parents for no insurance - for use, cause, permit - in January and we will be seizing a lot of these scooters very, very shortly."
The penalty is the same as for driving without insurance: £300 and six points on a driving licence or an unlimited fine and disqualification if the case goes to court.
It is currently illegal to ride a privately-owned e-scooter in a public place in the UK, although it is legal to buy one. The vehicles can however be ridden as part of rental trials that are taking place across the country, which the government recently promised to extend until May 2026.
Elsewhere, Hertfordshire Constabulary released a statement urging people to familiarise themselves with the law around e-scooters.
As there are no trials currently taking place in the county, riding them on public land is illegal anywhere in Hertfordshire.
“Many parents may be unaware of the legislation and will be buying these scooters for their children thinking they are harmless fun," said the force. "However, these vehicles can be very dangerous and many people across the country have been injured as a result of collisions involving e-scooters.
“If you are caught riding one on a public highway, pavement or cycle lane, it could be seized by the police. You could also be reported for driving offences which would lead to significant penalty points and a fine. If you are a parent letting your child ride these in public, you will be the one found responsible and in turn this could affect your own driving licence.”
Kent Police's Maidstone Community Safety Unit has also reminded Christmas shoppers that it is against the law to use privately-owned e-scooters anywhere other than on private land, with officers leading a month-long campaign to raise awareness about legislation. They said many people were unaware they can only be legally ridden on private property and that their use in public spaces could result in the scooter being seized.
PC Mitch Hunt said: “When ridden illegally, e-scooters pose both a nuisance and danger to other road users and pedestrians. Most riders are young and unaware of the law regarding their usage.
“Ahead of the festive season, we want to encourage anybody looking to buy an e-scooter as a gift to understand the restrictions around riding one. It is an offence to ride an e-scooter in a public space and anyone doing so runs the risk of their vehicle being confiscated.”
Cleveland Police and Middlesbrough Council have also urged people to ‘think before you buy’ e-scooters, as well as off-road motorbikes and quad bikes, saying they can cause “serious harm” if ridden irresponsibly and not in line with traffic laws.
Inspector Andy Vickers from Cleveland Police Roads Policing Unit said: “Some people want to buy them as presents for Christmas, however, we need to make people aware of the laws surrounding them and the fact that they’re not toys, they are classed as vehicles in the eyes of the law.
“People need licences and insurance just like any other vehicle, otherwise they could end up with police seizing them, fines and points on their licence. So we’re simply asking people to think before they buy them, and ensure they comply with the law.”