Council admits gaffe over electric scooters, which are ILLEGAL to ride on pavements in Milton Keynes

After publicising widely that the city's new e-scooters can be used on pavements, MK Council has done a U-turn and admitted it is illegal.

By Sally Murrer
Thursday, 27th August 2020, 4:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th August 2020, 6:30 pm

For the past month, the council has been advertising its new e-scooter hire scheme, the first of its kind in the UK.

And on several occasions it has stated the 14mph machines can be used on "redways, pavements and minor estate roads with a 30mph limit of less".

The Citizen, together with readers, has questioned the legalities of riding on pavements, only to be assured by MK Council that it was correct.

Riding on pavements is illegal

Yet government legislation clearly states anyone caught riding an electric scooter on a pavement could face a £300 fine and six points on their licence.

Until July 4, it was actually illegal in the UK to ride the scooters on any public road, pavements or cycle lane. But the government tweaked the legislation to allow local authorities to undertake 12 month e-scooter rental trials.

The trials must meet DfTs requirements, which are set out below:

* Rental e-scooters will be allowed on roads and cycle lanes, but will continue to be banned from pavements;

Spin scooters

* E-scooters will be limited to a maximum speed of 15.5 mph;

* Riders should wear helmets, but they will not be mandatory;

* Privately-owned e-scooters will remain illegal; and

* Riders will need a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence to use the devices, and they must be aged 16 or over.

This week some readers are also questioning whether it's legal to ride the scooters on MK's redways, as they do not believe the system fits the government definition of 'cycle tracks'.

“Small children, parents with buggies, strolling pensioners and dogs using redways are a recipe for a disaster if you then throw 15mph silent scooters without lights or horns into the mix," said one concerned resident.

He added: "The redways were designed by MKDC as dedicated adopted highway routes for pedestrian and cycle use, with a specific exclusion of motor vehicles and horses.

"This is confirmed in the Redway Code published by Milton Keynes Council and as it clearly says in the Code: 'All motor-powered vehicles including mopeds, mini-motos and motorcycles are prohibited from using Redways with the exception of authorised vehicles e.g. emergency vehicles and maintenance vehicles.'

The law defines a Cycle Track “as a way over which the public have a right of way on pedal cycles, other than pedal cycles which are motor vehicles, with or without a right of way on foot”.

The reader said: "To enable an e-scooter to be ridden on redways [cycle tracks] MK Council would need to re-

designate them as cycle lanes or amend the traffic regulation legislation which presently apply to the

redways and restrict them being used by motor vehicles [e-scooters]. It is not clear if MKC have

amended the regulations."

A spokesperson for MK Council said today: "At the time of issuing the e-scooter press release, the rules were still being developed. It was thought that the e-scooters would be allowed on some pavements under certain conditions to support journeys.

She added: "We can now clarify that e-scooters cannot be ridden on pavements."

The Milton Keynes e-scooters are bookable through three transport operators: Lime, Ginger and Spin.

Cabinet Member for Sustainability, Cllr Lauren Townsend, said, “While the grid roads and general layout in MK helps to keep our air quality high, transport is undeniably one of the UK’s most polluting sectors. We have ambitious plans to make MK a leading green city, and that includes showing other areas what can be achieved with a bit of innovation. It’s great that we’re home to the country’s first large scale e-scooter trial, following on from our track record with shared e-bikes and autonomous delivery robots. I hope lots of people give the e-scooters a try so we can learn what’s possible and share our findings with others.”