E-scooters vs E-bikes; which should I purchase

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What is an e-scooter?

Electric scooters, more commonly referred to as e-scooters, are push scooters that are powered by a rechargeable battery. They can travel between 12-37 miles per charge, and their maximum speed is roughly 10mph. They’re becoming very popular with commuters in many cities like Brighton or London, offering quick, easy, affordable transport from A to B.

E-scooters are currently only available to purchase privately from companies across the UK. The government is, however, running e-scooter rental trials across several cities that you can participate in. An e-scooter can be driven on the road (except motorways) and in cycle lanes. They are not allowed to be driven on pavements, and riders should obey the “cyclist” road signs unless signage prohibits e-scooters from that particular cycleway.

Why can’t you insure e-scooters?

If you’re part of one of the government-run trials and riding on a rented e-scooter, you’ll likely be covered by insurance taken out by the operator.  However, if your e-scooter is privately owned, it’s slightly more complicated.

Riding a privately owned e-scooter on public roads, pavements, footpaths or cycle lanes is currently illegal. You can, however, legally ride a privately owned e-scooter on private land, given that the public doesn’t have access to this property and the land owners have given you permission.  

This is because e-scooters are currently classed as motor vehicles under the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means that requirements like a licence to drive, insurance and tax would apply to all e-scooters. As e-scooters have not yet been legalised in the United Kingdom, insurance companies aren’t legally able to offer insurance for this new mode of transport.

Should government trials succeed, e-scooters could be legalised across the board. Insurance providers will likely follow suit and begin to offer insurance for e-scooters. Until such a time, it’s best to fully understand any cover you have and exactly how you are covered.

What is an e-bicycle?

An e-bike or e-bicycle is a bicycle that is fitted with an electric motor that offers assistance when one pedals. The motor on the bicycle is powered by a rechargeable battery mounted to the bicycle. There are extensive variations of an e-bike, so certain regulations have been put in place regarding what classifies as an e-bike.

Electric bike laws regulate the power of an e-bicycle motor and the speed at which the assistance cuts off. In the UK the motor is limited to 250 watts output, and the motor is required to cut out once you’ve reached a speed of 15.5mph. This doesn’t mean you can’t go faster than 15.5mph on your e-bike, but rather that the e-bike’s motor won’t propel you to speeds faster than 15.5mph.  

Can you insure e-bicycles?

The great part about e-bikes is that you can easily insure them. Insuring your electric bicycle protects it against theft, accidental damage, and more.

When it comes to e-bikes, there are rules and regulations you’ve got to follow. Making sure your e-bike adheres to these rules is essential if you want to get it insured without any hiccups. . Familiarise yourself with the Government’s Electric Bike regulations before purchasing an e-bike to make sure your new ride complies with the necessary regulations. If your e-bike meets all the requirements stipulated, you’ll easily be able to insure it and take out a quick, simple quote from Sundays insurance to keep you rolling.

So which is best for you?

Whilst private e-scooters are yet to be legalised in the UK, there are multiple petitions and letters encouraging the government to legalise the use of private e-scooters in public areas. If you’re looking for a convenient option to cruise around private land, an e-scooter could be the ideal option for you. It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to insure your e-scooter yet.

If you’re looking for a practical, affordable mobility solution for zipping around town, making grocery runs and more, an e-bike is likely your best choice. E-bikes are a great way to commute around without breaking a major sweat or breaking the bank on transport costs. They come in various shapes and sizes, some with baskets, some that fold up small enough to be carried. You can take out quick, easy bicycle insurance online via Sundays to cover your commuter against theft, accidental damage and more.

*This article was factually correct on the date of publication.


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