Government approves plans to regulate e-scooters

1 Feb 20211.22k Views

Image: © YURII MASLAK/Stock.adobe.com

Regulation of the use of e-scooters and e-bikes on Irish roads takes the next step toward becoming reality.

The government has approved plans to draft legislation that will see electric scooters and bikes legalised and regulated on Irish roads.

Legalisation of e-scooters has had many stops and starts over the years but the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill will allow for the operation of these vehicles and will the pave the way for e-scooter sharing companies to launch operations in Ireland.

Under the legislation, e-scooters will be categorised as ‘powered personal transporters’ or PPTs and will not require the rider to have tax, insurance or a drivers’ licence but will set standards on how they are used in public spaces. Those specifics are forthcoming.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, said the provisions of the new bill will allow for the use of e-scooters in a “safe manner”.

“E-scooters have become an increasingly popular form of personal mobility in a short period of time. However, these devices are not legal under current Irish road traffic law,” he said.

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The regulations have been eagerly anticipated by Irish e-scooter and bike sharing start-ups such as Zipp Mobility and Bleeper and international players such as Voi and Lime, which have lobbied TDs to make a move on legislation that is similar to other European countries.

“We look forward to seeing more specific details about how e-scooters and e-bikes will be regulated,” Zipp Mobility CEO Charlie Gleeson said.

Zipp is currently operating in a number of locations in the UK and has begun talks with some local authorities in Ireland about shared e-scooter schemes, he said.

Last month, Fingal County Council put the feelers out to the public on how it could introduce e-scooter and e-bike sharing schemes in its area.

The Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill will also introduce regulations for the use of e-bikes. They will soon be regulated by EU standards and treated the same as traditional pedal bicycles for the most part, with “more powerful models” to be treated as light mopeds. E-bike sharing schemes are already in operation in Ireland.

Minister of State at the Deptartment of Climate Action and Transport Hildegarde Naughton, TD, added that the legislation will provide a framework for e-scooter and e-bikes while “also ensuring and improving safety for all road users”.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

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