Grossbritannien | Definition of a Motor Vehicle

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Definition of a Motor Vehicle

The term ‚motor vehicle‘ is defined in section 185(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and section 136(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 as „a mechanically propelled vehicle, intended or adapted for use on roads“.

Although this is the legal definition, ultimately it is a matter of fact and degree for a court to interpret as to whether or not a vehicle is a motor vehicle at the time of the incident.

The term mechanically propelled vehicle is not defined in the Road Traffic Acts. It is ultimately a matter of fact and degree for the court to decide. At its most basic level it is a vehicle which can be propelled by mechanical means. It can include both electrically and steam powered vehicles.

Intended or adapted for use on roadsis also not defined by statute and again ultimately a matter for the court to decide based on the evidence before it.

There has, however, been extensive case law on the subject and the main point that emerges is what is known as the reasonable man test as per the following cases:

Burns v Currell [1963] 2 All ER 297

B was found sitting in a go-kart. The kart had a rear-mounted engine, a tubular frame, a single seat, silencer, steering wheel and column, but had no handbrake, horn, springs, driving mirror or wings. There was evidence that B had only used the go-kart on the unadopted road once. He was convicted and he appealed on the grounds that the go-kart was not intended or adapted for use on roads and was thus not a motor vehicle to which the regulations applied.

The Appeal was allowed and the conviction was quashed. The test to be adopted was the ‚reasonable man test‘. There must be sufficient evidence before the justices to prove beyond reasonable doubt that such a ‚reasonable man‘ looking at the go-kart would say that one of its uses would be a use on the road.

DPP v Saddington Times 1.11.2000

S drove an unregistered motorised scooter called a ‚Go-Ped‘ on a road whilst disqualified and uninsured. The vehicle had a 22.5cc engine and was definitely a mechanically propelled machine. However, to prove the two most serious offences, the machine also had to be a motor vehicle, i.e. a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on a road.

At the hearing the magistrates found that the ‚Go-Ped‘ fell far below statutory standards and would not satisfy road traffic legislation relating to motor vehicles. They decided that the vehicle was not a motor vehicle. The DPP appealed by way of case stated and also asked the Court to declare that the machine was a motor vehicle.

The courts held that the Go-Ped was a motor vehicle.

DPP v King [2008] EWHC 447 (Admin)

K was stopped by police whilst riding a ‚City Mantis‘ electric scooter on a public road. The scooter looked like a bicycle except that it did not have any pedals or other means of manual propulsion and it was capable of speeds up to 10 miles per hour. K was charged with driving a motor vehicle whilst disqualified and with no insurance.

At trial the issue arose regarding whether the scooter was a motor vehicle. K was acquitted and the case was passed to the High Court following the decision of the trial judge for definitive determination of whether a ‚City Mantis‘ electric scooter was a motor vehicle as defined in the 1988 Act. The Appeal was allowed and the case was remitted with a direction to convict. The scooter was a motor vehicle according to section 185 of the 1988 Act.


Erklärung seitens eWheelz™

In Grossbritannien schreibt die Staatsanwaltschaft, dass nur ein Gericht darüber entscheiden könne, ob ein Fahrzeug ein Kraftfahrzeug ist oder nicht ist. Das ein elektrische Einrad ein Elektromotor als Basis habe, sei kein Schutz vor einer Einstufung als Kraftfahrzeug. Aktuell existiert keine Gesetzesgebung, welche eine Verwendung von elektrischen Einrädern auf öffentlichen Strassen erlaubt. Die momentane Situation ist sehr beunruhigend für alle Britten, denn es muss nur ein Unfall durch ein elektrisches Einrad geschehen, welcher vor Gericht landet und dann könnte es sehr schwierig werden. Ein Beispiel eines Konflikts gefällig? Kraftfahrzeuge haben auf Fusswegen nichts verloren.

Patrick F. Vontobel
Patrick F. Vontobel

Principal & Owner

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