Using an electric scooter is not permitted under existing road-traffic legislation.
Anyone caught using one in public spaces could be fined, given penalty points or have their “vehicle” seized by gardaí, the Department of Transport has warned.
A department spokesman told The Irish Times that under the Road Traffic Act 1961, electric scooters are considered to be “mechanically propelled”.
He said anyone using a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place must have insurance, road tax and a driving licence, and warned penalties could be imposed for not being in compliance with these requirements.
The legal requirement that users have full licences, tax and insurance creates a hurdle that would appear to be insurmountable as it is currently not possible to tax or insure e-scooters or electric skateboards. “They are not considered suitable for use in a public place,” the spokesman said.
‘Road safety implications’
He said Minister for Transport Shane Ross has asked the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to research how e-scooters and other such vehicles are regulated in other countries, particularly other EU member states, "and is keen to understand the road safety implications of the use of such vehicles on public roads, especially when interacting with other vehicles".
Once that research has been completed, a decision will be taken on whether or not to amend existing legislation. “The department will need to be satisfied that permitting such vehicles on our roads will not give rise to safety concerns, both for the users themselves and for all other road users including cyclists, pedestrians and motorists,” the Department of Transport spokesman added.
AA spokesman Barry Aldworth called for "greater legislative clarity" and said that both electrically assisted bikes and e-scooters "have a potential to act as an additional mode of transport, particularly in urban areas".