OFFICERS have warned e-scooter owners that their vehicles could be seized if they are caught using them in public.

An ongoing campaign by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership is reminding riders that the powered scooters are illegal on roads, pavements and cycle lanes.

Despite the fact they have become a common sight in Sussex, laws currently only allow them to be used on private land.

The Argus:

Both Horsham Police and Adur and Worthing Police have posted messages to scooter owners on their social media channels this weekend.

They read: "Thinking about buying an e-scooter as a Christmas present?

"Did you know they still remain illegal to use on public roads and can only be used on private land?

"Enjoy your shopping, but remember they can be seized if seen ridden on the highway."

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 Argus:

The flyer explains 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.”

And Brighton and Hove City Council said it has "no plans at present" to take part in the trials.

A spokeswoman said: "We fully support the present campaign by Sussex Police and Sussex Safer Roads Partnership.

“We have participated in the Department for Transport consultation on this subject and this has raised a number of road safety, antisocial behaviour and accessibility concerns.

“There are no plans at present to participate in e-scooter trials locally but we will be watching the outcomes in other UK cities with interest.

“There are many issues to consider with the use of and trials of e-scooters, which must be reviewed properly and using evidence available to us.

"For example, some schemes elsewhere have pushed for strict safety measures and the government is also consulting on the possibility of requiring a driving licence and age restrictions to operate an e-scooter.

“Our continued plan to lower emissions in the city does mean that we will continue to focus on walking, cycling, maintaining and supporting the city’s excellent bus services, and providing infrastructure for electric vehicle charging.

"In the longer term we are open to the idea of trialling e-scooters but this will depend very much on lessons learned from the initial phase elsewhere.”