THE popularity of electric scooters is booming as people look for more environmentally friendly ways to make their journeys.

But in recent weeks authorities have issued reminders to owners in Brighton and Hove that their vehicles remain illegal to use on roads, pavements and even cycle lanes.

Anyone walking around Brighton in recent months is likely to have seen at least one or two scooters zipping around the streets.

Leading motoring and cycling company Halfords reported that sales of the scooters, alongside electric bikes, had soared by a staggering 230 per cent in the five months leading up to September.

This could be a direct result of the coronavirus lockdown, which saw public transport options scaled back.

But, despite their meteoric rise, the law remains stringent for e-scooters.

The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, supported by Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Highways England, Sussex Police and West Sussex County Council is currently distributing leaflets providing the latest advice on the vehicles in the county.

On the front, it states: “Why am I being given this flyer? Because it’s currently against the law to ride an e-scooter on a public road or pavement.”

It continues inside: “We understand that buying an e-scooter can be tempting, especially as you can get them from many popular retailers.

“However, the law is currently clear.

“You can buy one but you can’t ride it on a UK public road, cycle lane or pavement.

“The only place an e-scooter can be used is on private land.

“E-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) so they are treated as motor vehicles and subject to the same legal requirements such as an MoT, licensing, tax and insurance.

“As e-scooters do not have number plates, signalling ability and don’t always have visible rear lights, they can’t be used legally on roads.”

The flyer explained that the government is currently taking part in “Future Transport Zone” trials for e-scooter hire, with a view to making them legal on the roads,as it sought to support environmentally friendly modes of travel.

“All local authorities can apply to take part,” it said, “but at the moment Sussex is not part of the trials.”

Chief Inspector Michael Hodder of Sussex Police said: “As Sussex is not taking part in the ‘Future Transport’ trials, it is important to remind the public that they remain illegal to use on public roads.”