Insights Committees of Advertising Practice publish enforcement update on electric scooters in ads


The Committees remind readers that, while legal to buy, it is illegal to ride privately-owned e-scooters in public spaces. Therefore, ads should not suggest otherwise.

Although there are limited exceptions, e.g. scooters rented though a government trial, the use of electric scooters on public roads or pavements outside these conditions is illegal in the UK.

The ASA has taken a firm line on ads that state or imply, in text or images, that electric scooters can be used in public spaces such as pavements, roads, cycle paths or parks.

In ASA Ruling on Hy-Pro International Ltd t/a Zinc, a TV ad that showed people riding e-scooters in front of animated backgrounds, including a pavement and other urban and park environments, was ruled irresponsible under the BCAP Code. Despite a disclaimer, the ASA ruled that the imagery in the ad, though abstract and cartoonish, suggested parks and urban settings.

Similarly, in ASA Ruling on Furosystems Ltd, the ASA ruled that ads on social media and a website, which showed pictures and video of e-scooters being used on pavements, roads and parks were misleading and irresponsible.

Accordingly, the Committees say, marketers should avoid images that give the impression that e-scooters can be used in public spaces. This includes animated images, as well as realistic photos and video. Similarly, claims which state or imply that e-scooters can be used to get around town or commute, for example, are likely to be a problem.

The Committees “strongly advise” that ads for privately-owned e-scooters should include a prominent statement that they are only permitted on private land and cannot be used in public spaces in the UK. However, the ASA has been consistent in ruling that such a disclaimer is not sufficient to override an impression elsewhere in the ad that the product can be used in public spaces. In short, the statement must not be contradicted by the text and imagery in the ad as a whole. To read the enforcement update in full and for links to the ASA rulings, click here.