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Why electric scooters are illegal in New York and London

The laws, regulations, and politics working against them

Spend any time in New York or London, and you¡¯ll inevitably come across dozens of people whizzing along each city¡¯s streets on electric scooters. Yet, despite their popularity, e-scooters are technically illegal in both places, and the politicians with the power to change things are in no rush to do so.

In London, e-scooters are illegal because of Britain¡¯s national laws, some of which date back to the Victorian era. Meanwhile, in New York City, the legislation exists to legalize them at a state level, but the state governor has yet to sign the bill that would allow electric scooters to officially move in.

The situation has left New York City and the UK¡¯s populous capital London in a weird bind when it comes to e-scooters. It¡¯s easy to buy them and start using them on the roads, but any cop who sees you is technically within their right to pull you over.

Yet, people continue to buy and use e-scooters in these cities in droves. They¡¯re relatively cheap, they¡¯re easy to ride, and they¡¯re great at getting around congestion. Importantly for cities, they¡¯re also very environmentally friendly compared to making a journey in a car, and their impact on traffic congestion is minimal.

Clearly, there¡¯s a need for change in both cities, but local and national regulations need to find a balance. They need to balance the obvious enthusiasm people have for e-scooters and the ambitions of e-scooter rental companies with the need to keep roads safe for scooterists and everyone else who shares the road with them. Join us as we examine what it¡¯s going to take for the situation to change.