Electric scooters are set to be legalised on UK roads and cycle lanes for the first time under government plans, it has been reported.
The transport devices are currently illegal to use anywhere other than private land in Britain, with riders facing a £300 fixed-penalty notice and six points on their driving licence if caught doing so.
However a government consultation – due to launch next month – is expected to suggest e-scooters should be treated like bicycles and be allowed on public roads and cycle lanes, according to the Times.
The consultation – which will look at how to regulate e-scooters and ensure safety – will be followed by trials in cities, with a potential nationwide introduction if they are successful, the newspaper said.
E-scooters would be equipped with “speed inhibitors” that will limit their speed to 15.5mph and there would be questions over whether helmets should be compulsory when riding the gadgets, the Times reported.
Concerns have been raised by some Whitehall officials that e-scooters could discourage people from walking and contribute to obesity, it added.
It is not known if the potential change in the law would also apply to Segways and hoverboards, which are also banned on pavements, public roads and cycle lanes.
Sky News revealed hundreds of incidents involving e-scooters, hoverboards and Segways were reported to UK police last year – including road traffic collisions, anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.
YouTube star Emily Hartridge became the first e-scooter rider to be killed in the UK last July, raising fears about the safety of the vehicles.
However, campaigners calling for e-scooters to be allowed on UK roads say the current law banning their use is “outdated” and the devices provide an environmentally friendly alternative to cars.
E-scooters can be ridden in the UK on private land with the permission of the landowner, while they are legal to use in public places in some foreign cities including Paris and San Francisco.
A Department for Transport (DfT) spokeswoman told Sky News it would not comment on “speculation” following the TImes’ report and said there had been “no change” in the current policy on e-scooters.
She added: “Safety is at the heart of our road laws, and people who use e-scooters need to be aware it is currently illegal to ride them on the road and the pavement.
“The government is considering the use of e-scooters and e-skateboards as part of a regulatory review, as announced in March.”
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