The difference between e-scooters you can hire and ones you can buy yourself
There’s a lot of confusion around Merseyside at the moment about e-scooters. You might have seen the orange ones being used around the city, or appearing by train stations and bike stands.
Because of this, many people are thinking of buying them as presents, but buyers should be wary.
Merseyside Road Safety Partnership Coordinator, Sarah English, said:
Whilst e-scooters may seem like a fun and tempting gift, given the legalities and restrictions, the opportunities for their usage will be scarce. I would encourage those looking to purchase one to consider the guidance carefully.
This is a stance shared by Merseyside Police.
In a statement on Monday, Merseyside Police said:
It is against the law to ride an e-scooter anywhere other than on private land, with the express permission of the landowner. If found to be riding one in public, individuals can face having their scooters seized, a fine, or even points on their driving license.
In addition to this, e-scooters can pose a danger to other members of the public, and we have seen increased reports of them being ridden antisocially including on pavements, in crowded places, and even in the dark.
We are encouraging anyone considering purchasing a scooter as a gift to please seriously consider the risks.
The e-scooters that you might see around Merseyside have been licensed by the council as part of a trial, and you’ll be able to hire one if:
- You’re over 18
- Have a valid driving license
- Agree not to ride it on the pavement
- Do not violate their safe usage terms and conditions
Under the scheme, these scooters are available to the public to hire and ride during certain times (after which they stop working), within the confines of an approved area, which runs from Boundary Street to Sefton Street.
These shared e-scooters (owned by the company Voi) are the only ones which are legal to use on public property at the moment. Any others you might see around are currently illegal.
This is confusing for people, as e-scooters are being sold online and in the shops, and the small print which says they can only be used on private property (with permission) is often not very obvious.
Many of those trialling the shared e-scooters have said that they do not feel comfortable riding the scooter on the road, however, this is actually how the scooters are intended to be used, and why a driving license is needed. Riders need to have a solid understanding of the Highway Code.
Whether the government will approve, and therefore legalise, the use of private e-scooters remains to be seen. For now though, the only ones you’re able to ride legally and safely are those for hire.