Most political parties side with Government against FF e-scooter Bill

Proposed law delayed for three months to allow completion of public consultation

Dáil votes by almost two-to-one to delay introduction of legislation regulating electric scooters by three months. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Dáil votes by almost two-to-one to delay introduction of legislation regulating electric scooters by three months. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

The Dáil has voted by almost two-to-one to delay for three months the introduction of legislation aimed at regulating electric scooters so a public consultation process can be completed.

Sinn Féin, Labour, the Green Party, Social Democrats and Independents supported the Government’s view that the outcome of the Department of Transport’s process on “powered personal transporters” should be awaited.

Solidarity-People Before Profit backed Fianna Fáil in the 62 to 32 vote on the Road Traffic (Amendment) (Use of Electric Scooters) Bill introduced by Sligo TD Marc MacSharry, who accused Minister for Transport Shane Ross of “endlessly procrastinating” on the issue.

There is no specific law at present for e-scooters including segways, skateboards and hoverboards and the Bill classifies them as a new category of transportation.

Under the Bill, the scooters would not require either a licence or insurance but helmets would be compulsory for users and there are fines and potential prosecutions if the machines travel at more than 25km/h or if speed-limiting software is tampered with.

He said there was no need to delay the Bill because the public consultation would be finished in two weeks and its outcome could coincide with the committee stage debate on the Bill, where amendments are considered.

‘Silver bullet’

Fianna Fáil Dublin spokesman John Lahart, a co-sponsor of the Bill, said the legislation was not a “silver bullet” but had a part to play in dealing with chronic congestion. He said Dublin was the slowest moving city in Europe and it is estimated that the average person in the capital spends 10 days a year sitting in traffic when all the hours are totted up.

Minister of State Brendan Griffin said the Bill had unintended consequences and that in attempting to amend a “key cornerstone provision in road traffic law” it removes key legal protections to other road users from the misuse of e-scooters such as when intoxicated or driving in a dangerous or careless manner. Changes to road traffic legislation involving new offences require a range of changes including amending the Garda IT systems, he said.