The Irish Times view on e-scooter legalisation: A catch-up exercise

A two-month consultation process will gauge public’s views on electric scooters

A report commissioned by the Road Safety Authority on e-scooter use in other EU countries found differing regulations and poor standards of enforcement. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

A report commissioned by the Road Safety Authority on e-scooter use in other EU countries found differing regulations and poor standards of enforcement. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

 

The Department of Transport is to embark on a two-month consultation process to gauge the public’s views on the legalisation of electric scooters and the type of safety and other regulations that may be needed in future. It’s something of a catch-up exercise because, over the past few years, e-scooter use has grown dramatically in spite of official resistance and the department’s view that they are illegal under road safety legislation.

As for taxation, insurance and licensing, the department will not pronounce on these fundamental issues until the outcome of the public consultation process becomes known

A report commissioned by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) on e-scooter use in other EU countries found differing regulations and poor standards of enforcement. It advised that a ban on “powered transporters” would be both impractical and counter-intuitive before recommending a cautious roll-out of the new machines, based on safety considerations. Designed to accommodate “future device types”, legislation covering all powered transporters could also resolve long-standing disagreements over the legality of power-assisted mobility aids for disabled people.

After complaints in Paris about the threat to pedestrians from e-scooters being ridden or abandoned on the pavements, city hall has introduced 20km/h (12mph) speed limits and fines of €135 (£125) for riding them on the pavement. Photograph: Ronald Wittek/EPA
At present, e-scooters are illegal and, if used on a public pavement, may attract an on-the-spot fine of €60 and a single penalty point. File photograph: Ronald Wittek/EPA

Companies have invested in this new mode of transport and are actively promoting it in cities across the world. Rental schemes created problems in some cities and have been banned in others. The RSA favours a clear classification of these transporters, based on power and speed limits, and advises that users should be “encouraged” to wear helmets. As for taxation, insurance and licensing, the department will not pronounce on these fundamental issues until the outcome of the public consultation process becomes known.

At present, e-scooters are illegal and, if used on a public pavement, may attract an on-the-spot fine of €60 and a single penalty point. The Garda Síochána has expressed concern about their use on safety grounds.

E-scooters may turn out to be a passing fad, particularly if the sector is heavily regulated. But as a disruptive industry, it offers a cheap, stylish, low-carbon means of commuting. With regulation and self-discipline, it could be a useful addition to urban life in Ireland.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.