Apparently it’s called micro-transportation - 2/5
A brief aside
In the first post of this series I ended by saying I’d talk about setup and maintenance next. I’ve almost completed this and was planning to finish it today but I saw another news story on the BBC (via Apple News) that discussed scooters and their legal position in the UK and I was irritated enough by it to want to discuss this earlier than I had planned.
The article was titled in a reasonably click-bait-y way and the first half of it was opinionated and sensationalist, but persisting through you get to some facts.
Electric scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) which require insurance and registration with the Department of Transport, despite the DoT providing no way for them to actually be registered.
The UK Government completed a consultation earlier this year that recommended that the legal status of PLEVs such as electric scooter should be changed. However they have done nothing about it.
The article goes on to mention a prosecution for a rider of a Go-Ped scooter who had no insurance and who was not wearing a helmet. However they downplay the fact that he was arrested for running a red traffic light and that a Go-Ped is a high powered petroleum-engined vehicle and not a lightweight electric one. If you feel the difference is minimal wait until you encounter one.
At the end they mention two items that highlight the hypocrisy and madness of the situation.
First an issue that I find particularly vexing: Electric, and Electric-Assisted, bikes. These are considered to be normal bicycles and are as such allowed on roads and cycle-paths.
Secondly, more amusingly, ordinary unpowered scooters are not permitted to be ridden on pavements or cycle-paths but there are no laws preventing them being ridden on the road!
All in all, the current state of legislation is dangerous, embarrassing and impractical.
My experience of riding my scooter, on roads and in cycle paths, I will document later. For now I’ll say that of more concern than the presence of PLEVs on the roads should be the dangerous behaviour of van and taxi drivers, the inconsistent and unmonitored behaviour of cyclists and the enforcement of bike-only zones at junctions.
I’ve ridden past, and alongside, numerous police officers. I was at a junction, recently, alongside two motorcycle police who simply smiled before speeding off on green. Once around the outer ring road of Regents Park I ‘sped’ past a police speed trap. The officer with the radar gun grinned, waved and shouted “16 miles and hour” then gave me a thumbs-up.
I wear a helmet and use copious lights and reflectors. I stop at red lights. I think about other road users. I would welcome registration and insurance provided you make cyclists give the same courtesy and respect to fellow road users. Why am I at fault for embracing a future which is already the present?