21 July 2022

How e-scooters are regulated in Europe?


You can love them or hate them, but electric scooters have become something of a fixture in many European countries, from France to Germany or Italy, including the eastern block like Poland or Hungary.

The rental market of e-scooters in Europe has boomed in recent years, it has started with apps in which you are charged either per minute or mileage, with e-scooters becoming increasingly popular in urban areas and with younger people but also some users are not "that young".

Revenue in the European e-scooter sharing market is projected to reach €651.90 million (approximately 555.50£) this year, according to Statista, while the number of users is estimated to be 55.5 million by 2026. Further, e-scooters are seen as an easy, somewhat affordable way for people to go from point A to point B. However, recent injuries, accidents and death involving e-scooters have prompted country authorities to take harder measured at the use of such vehicles for the benefit all road users.

On an EU level, the European Commission is looking at the possibility of establishing up guidelines, whilst technical standards are also being considered under possible plans for standardisation.

For example the cities of Rome and Paris have restricted speed

Rome's council are moving to clamp down on e-scooters, including restricting their use to adults (aged > 18) who must provide formal ID, and further limiting how fast they can go.

These new restrictions are intended to come into force in January 2023, under new draft regulations seen by AFP.

Whilst, in France similar restrictions will be applied in Paris. Though restrictions where already applied by Paris Council for rental e-scooters last year, after the death of a pedestrian hit by an e-scooter.

The new regulations cap the speed limit for rental e-scooters at 10 km/h in some areas of the French capital, especially around key tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum.

E-scooters run by rental companies like Dott, Tier and Lime, tracked in real-time by geo-location, are automatically slowed down to half their normal top speed once they enter the designated areas.

The businesses are also taking steps to further reduce rogue parking, requiring users to take a picture proving that they dropped off the scooter in the right place, if that won't happen a penalty to the user might apply.

Whilst if we head north of Europe cities like Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm have made these actions: Nighttime bans, cutting e-scooter numbers

Councils in several European countries have also turned to banning e-scooter rentals at certain times of the day to try and curb incidents.

In July last year, the Norwegian capital Oslo banned nighttime e-scooter rentals following an outcry from doctors over the numbers of injuries sustained.

Just recently the Helsinki council also banned e-scooter rentals after midnight on weekends, and lowered their speed limit after a series of incidents caused by drunken riders which has always resulted in injuries for e-scooter drivers and other road users.

In November, councillors in Stockholm voted to approximately cut in half the number of rental e-scooters numbers permitted in the Swedish capital, as well as to cut the number of licensed scooter rental firms from eight to three.

Also in Denmark, Spain and Norway there are mandatory helmets and minimum technical standards

Several countries have introduced mandatory helmets for riders of e-scooters and other smart mobility or green mobility riders, including Denmark and Spain. The latter is also introducing minimum technical standards for e-scooters, due to safety concerns from the Spanish authorities.

In Norway, helmets are compulsory for riders up to the age of 15, whilst there is no obligation for older drivers. The country has also introduced the same drink-drive limits as for car drivers, to prevent a "Finnish outcome" as we have written before.

UK (Including Scotland) set to expand e-scooter use

In the UK, e-scooter use is only legal for rentals on public roads - privately-owned e-scooters are banned on public roads and pavements.
However, the HM government has said that new rules to expand the legal use of e-scooters are a priority for the upcoming year (most probably late 2023).

"While riding a privately owned e-scooter on public land is currently illegal, we are considering how best to design future regulations and our Transport Bill will help us to take the steps we need to make e-scooters safer and support innovation," a government spokesperson said, according to a report by the BBC.

Official rental trial schemes have been set up in dozens of areas across the country, though there is no presence of these trial schemes in Scotland.

Under these trials, users must abide by specific restrictions including maximum speeds of 25 km/h (15miles/hour), and the need to have a driving licence that allows for trial e-scooter use. Helmets are recommended but are not a legal requirement.


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