Detailed guide: E-scooter trials: guidance for users

Department For Transport

September 30
08:30 2020


The government is running trials of electric scooters (e-scooters). This guidance lists the rules for members of the general public who are using e-scooters that are part of trials.

These rules are only for rental e-scooters used as part of trials

The rules for private e-scooters have not changed. It is against the law to use a privately owned e-scooter. If you use an e-scooter illegally:

  • you could face a fine
  • you could get penalty points on your licence
  • the e-scooter could be impounded

Trial areas

Trials are taking place in these areas:

  • Tees Valley Combined Authority (Darlington Borough Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Middlesbrough Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council)
  • Milton Keynes Borough
  • Northamptonshire (Boroughs of Kettering and Northampton, and Parish of Grange Park)
  • West Midlands Combined Authority (Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Solihull and Kenilworth)
  • Greater Norwich
  • Staffordshire (Stafford and Newcastle-Under-Lyme)
  • Gloucestershire (Gloucester and Cheltenham)

Speed limits

The maximum speed for an e-scooter is 15.5mph.

Trial e-scooters are limited to this speed and in some areas e-scooters may be limited to a lower maximum speed.

Driving licences

You must have the category Q entitlement on your driving licence to use an e-scooter. A full or provisional UK licence for categories AM, A or B includes entitlement for category Q. If you have one of these licences, you can use an e-scooter.

If you have a provisional licence, you do not need to show L plates when using an e-scooter.

If you have an overseas driving licence, you can use an e-scooter if you:

  • have a valid full licence from an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country (so long as this does not prohibit you from driving low-speed mopeds and motorcycles)
  • have a valid full licence from another country that entitles you to drive a small vehicle (for example, cars, mopeds or motorcycles) and you entered the UK within the last 12 months

Use our online tool to check if you can drive in Great Britain with your non-GB licence.

If you have been resident in the UK for more than 12 months, you must exchange your licence if you wish to continue driving in the UK.

You cannot use an e-scooter if you have an overseas provisional licence, learner permit or equivalent.


E-scooters must have motor insurance, but you do not need to arrange this as this will be provided by your e-scooter rental operator.

Helmets and clothing

You should wear a cycle helmet when using an e-scooter. Helmets are recommended but are not a legal requirement.

Make sure that your cycle helmet conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and is securely fastened.

Wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing so that other road users can see you in daylight, poor light and in the dark.

Where you can use a trial e-scooter

You may use a trial e-scooter on the road (except motorways) and in cycle lanes.

You must not use an e-scooter on the pavement.

Traffic signs with the following cycle symbol apply to e-scooters (unless a sign is displayed prohibiting e-scooters from that particular cycle way):

Recommend route for pedal cycles traffic sign

Registration plates and vehicle excise duty

E-scooters do not need to be registered, display registration plates or pay vehicle excise duty.

Other safety rules for trial e-scooter users

  • e-scooters should only be used within the local area hosting the trial
  • e-scooters should be used by one person at a time.
  • you must not tow anything using an e-scooter
  • you must not use a mobile phone when using an e-scooter
  • you may use a screen to display navigation information, but this must be set up prior to setting off
  • always ensure bags or other small items you are carrying will not cause a danger to you or others around you for example, never hang them from the handlebars
  • you should not ride an e-scooter while drunk or otherwise intoxicated you may be prosecuted under drink or drug driving laws as careless and dangerous driving offences also apply to users of e-scooters
  • you should also refer to the terms of use of the e-scooter operator before renting a trial e-scooter

Published 13 July 2020
Last updated 30 September 2020 +show all updates
  1. New trial areas in Staffordshire and Gloucestershire added.

  2. Added new trial area of Greater Norwich.

  3. Added details of new areas where trials are taking place (Milton Keynes, Northamptonshire and the West Midlands).

  4. First published.

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