The Situation with Electric Scooters in Scotland

Could electric scooters be legalised in Scotland?

Earlier this month, Scotland’s Transport Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, told The Scotsman that electric scooters will “inevitably” be legalised and there could be a trial on Scotland’s roads. But what does this mean for road users and pedestrians?

Currently, you can only purchase, own and ride an e-scooter on private land, and as long as you have the landowner’s permission. You cannot currently ride an e-scooter on the road, pavement, cycle paths, or any other public areas in Scotland.

Despite the ban, e-scooters have become a common sight in Scotland’s cities. According to Police Scotland, who have been criticised for not enforcing the law around the modern mode of transport, there were 16 accidents involving e-scooters from March 2023 to March 2024. Last year a young boy ended up in hospital with cuts and bruises after a hit and run in Dundee. And in Edinburgh, a man was taken to hospital after a two-vehicle crash involving an electric scooter.

Whilst there have been no official plans to introduce e-scooters to Scotland’s transport mix, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) has permitted the 22 rental trials in England until May 2026, while it continues to assess their worth. Could Scotland follow soon?

Although Ms Hyslop has expressed her thought that it’s “inevitable” they will be legalised at some point she stated their main goals are still to get people active. Sharing, “When you’re looking at a shared space, we want to encourage people to do more walking and cycling, and when that’s compromised by an electric scooter – that’s a danger.”

John Dillion, Head of Dispute Resolution at Watermans, said

“The introduction of e-scooters being trialled or allowed on Scottish roads must be coupled with the ability to buy compulsory insurance. It is not possible to get insurance for privately owned e-scooters at present. This means that any collisions involving e-scooters until such change is made will result in claims against uninsured drivers. Whilst ultimately these claims can be made against the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) for payment, these payments are from a purse funded by premium-paying motorists! It is therefore something that innocent motorists all end up contributing to for putting right.”

“Given the high risk of accidents occurring with e-scooters in public places and on roads, it inevitably increases the chances of serious or life-changing injuries being suffered by pedestrians, children, and other road users. As a result, compulsory insurance must be put in place if the use of e-scooters is legalised in Scotland. It helps protect the public and will also prevent the users of e-scooters without insurance from being forced to pay out thousands in compensation if they are responsible for causing an accident.”

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“I enjoy the challenge of putting my clients back in a position they would have been in, had they not been unfortunate to suffer an accident through no fault of their own.”

John Dillon, Head of Dispute Resolution