Legislation to regulate use of e-scooters and e-bikes to be introduced

Use of e-scooters will not require tax, insurance or driving licence, Minister says

E-scooters and and e-bikes are finally to be regulated on Irish roads, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said.

He said on Monday the Government had given approval to draft new legislation in this area.

The plan is for a new vehicle category, powered personal transporters, which will be legal to use in public but within a new safety framework.

Announcing the development, Mr Ryan said tax, insurance and driving licences will not be required for the use of e-scooters.

Further rules on exactly where and how they can be used will all be included in the forthcoming Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

The law will also differentiate e-bikes, depending on their size. The Minister said that while they will be treated “mainly in the same way” as normal bicycles, more powerful models would be considered akin to light mopeds.

“E-scooters have become an increasingly popular form of personal mobility in a short period of time,” Mr Ryan said.

“However, these devices are not legal under current Irish road-traffic law. I am implementing the commitment in the programme for government to regulate their use . . . so that they can be used in a safe manner.”

Once introduced the laws will bring Ireland up to speed with many other European countries as the number of people opting for the electric devices grows. It is not clear how long it will take for the legislation to come into being.

Safety measures

Dutch company Dott, an e-scooter service operator in 16 cities, has recently called on the Government to consider various safety measures once legislation is being put in place.

It has recommended a minimum age of 16 years; compulsory helmets for those aged between 16 and 18; an upper speed limit of 25km/h; a ban on footpath use; and consideration of comprehensive insurance provided by companies operating rental schemes.

Dott is not alone in its anticipation of forthcoming laws – Ireland is in the sights of several international scooter rental companies awaiting a regulatory opening. Sweden’s Voi and Berlin-based Tier are both believed to be waiting to roll out services.

Many will see the legislation as catching up with a shift in consumer demand, both recreational and commuter. Last October, the retailer Halfords reported a sevenfold increase in the sale of scooters across 24 stores over a two-month period.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times