Halfords says that the UK is ‘behind the curve’ when it comes to legalising privately owned e-scooters and has released an interactive world map which it says shows a trend for developed nations to allow them.
Trials of rented scooters covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy are currently taking place in a number of towns and cities around the UK, but the use of privately owned e-scooters on public roads remains illegal.
They are however permitted in a number of countries and the Planet E-Scooter map – created in collaboration with manufacturer Xiaomi – shows what is allowed where.
Matt Banks, Halfords E-mobility expert said: “From the increasing e-scooter demand we’re seeing in the UK; it seems like the public may not be aware of the legality of e-scooters. This interactive map will give people an insight into how legislations vary from one country to another.”
The map shows countries where e-scooters are legal and how they can be used in those places (on roads, cycle lanes, footpaths, etc).
It also picks out other elements, such as a 15.5mph speed limit and lighting requirements.
A Halfords spokesperson said: “Our research suggests that the UK is an outlier when it comes to e-scooter legislation.
“While there's a clear increase in the uptake of e-scooters across the globe, which most countries are supporting with new legislation, the UK appears to be behind the curve – with the devices currently considered illegal outside of private ownership.
“Should we, then, be introducing our own legislation to promote green transport, enable easier commuting, and reduce carbon emissions?”
The firm says that a worldwide trend of legalisation is “clear.”
The spokesperson continued: “The majority of developed countries are embracing e-scooters as an effective commuter tool and introducing legislation to facilitate their safe use.
“That said, legislation varies greatly from country to country. Some treat e-scooters just like bicycles, while others require helmets and driving licences, and few countries can agree on an exact name for the devices (with the UK and US using Personal Light Electric Vehicles).”
Halfords’ research revealed that some countries, such as China and Indonesia, are subsidising manufacturers to promote e-scooter use as a means of tackling air pollution.
Banks added: “Along with e-bikes, the safe use of e-scooters has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel and with new legislation they potentially could offer a greener and safer alternative to those who wish to avoid public transport at this time.”