It has been a long time coming but could legislation to allow e-scooters on Irish roads finally be about to be enacted?
The Republic seriously lags behind other European countries in allowing such vehicles to be used and particularly since the Covid crisis hit, there is a sharp increase in the number of people wishing to use them. Indeed, there are plenty that are doing so already even if that does put them on the wrong side of the law.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan previously expressed optimism that legislation would be in place before Christmas but that obviously did not happen. A draft version was approved earlier this year but then there was little other news, outside of mutterings of delays in enacting it due to the pandemic.
End of the tunnel
Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel, however. It has emerged that the Road Traffic (Misc Provisions) Bill, which will legislate for and regularise the usage of e-scooters, is contained within the Dáil's summer schedule, published by Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Defence Jack Chambers yesterday.
"I'm looking forward to Minister Ryan bringing about smart regulations for e-scooters so we can remove congestion, reduce pollution and allow people to scoot safely and legally," said former TD Noel Rock who led the way in encouraging politicians to pay attention to the issue.
He’s not the only one. So are countless commuters and countless e-scooter companies. With the Republic having waited so long before deciding to allow scooters, there are numerous companies, both local and international, itching to launch shared services locally. Among them are big names such as Bird, Bolt, Dott, Tier and Voi.
One thing is for sure though and that is there isn’t enough room for all of the operators. Even in Dublin, it looks as though only a couple of licences will be handled out by authorities for shared e-scooter schemes. Most will end up having to take to the road to find customers elsewhere.