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Devon police set to nick e-scooter riders

It's illegal to ride them in public

Devon's police are reminding people who are thinking about buying an electric scooter for someone for this Christmas that they won't be able to breeze down the streets without a care in the world. Whilst it's legal to buy e-scooters, it's against the law to ride them in public places.

Some people find it baffling that it's perfect legal to ride an electric bike at speed on Devon's pavements, but not a scooter propelled by a battery. But the law's the law, and Devon's bobbies are there to enforce it.

Road casualty reduction officer MPC Andy Bennett said: “We understand that e-scooters are very tempting for Christmas presents, but we would urge people to fully understand the law first. If our officers find anyone using e-scooters in a public place, the scooter will be seized, and the rider reported for any offences.

A police spokesperson explains: "E-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) so they are treated as motor vehicles.  As such, if they are used on a road, pavement or public place they are subject to the same legal requirements as any motor vehicle. Using a ‘motor vehicle’ on a road or other public place without: 

  • Insurance – 6 points, £300 fine, seizure of vehicle
  • Licence – penalty points, fine, seizure of vehicle
  • Failing to comply with Construction & Use legislation – ranging from non-endorsable fixed penalty to being reported to court for using in a dangerous condition.
  • Impaired by alcohol/drugs – licence disqualification, fine or penalty points."

PC Bennett continues: “I would also urge anyone using an e-scooter legally – i.e. on private land – to carefully consider their safety before doing so.  All riders should wear a helmet, younger riders particularly, would benefit from additional protective clothing such as knee and elbow pads to minimise injury”

The road safety partnership for Devon and Cornwall, Vision Zero South West, wants to eliminate crashes resulting in fatal and serious injuries on our roads in the next two decades – and the safe use of e-scooters plays an important part in this vision.

Devon and Cornwall's police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez is the chair of the Vision Zero South West Partnership. She said: “The last thing any police officer wants to do is take away a much-loved and expensive gift – that is why we want to make this message clear before Christmas.

“If you think you’ll be able to ride your e-scooter out and about on the roads and streets of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, you are mistaken.  It is against the law. I would specifically urge any parents considering buying an e-scooter for their children to think long and hard about doing so.”

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