E-scooters finally set to be legal on Irish roads

27 Jun 2023

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD. Image: Julien Behal Photography

Minister Eamon Ryan, TD, said the new law signed today paves the way for regulation that could see e-scooters hit Irish roads (legally) in just a few months’ time.

There finally seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for e-scooters in Ireland as the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 was signed into law today (27 June).

For the first time, regulation around e-scooters has been given the green light from Government and the process will now kickstart to make the increasingly popular form of transport legal in Ireland by the end of the year.

“E-scooters, while a regular part of our streetscape, are not yet legal to use on public roads,” reads a statement published by the Department of Transport. It adds that the Act introduces a new class of vehicle called personal powered transporters (PPTs).

“Regulations can now be commenced to classify e-scooters as PPTs, allowing the Minister to specify appropriate power, speed and weight values, along with other technical and usage requirements for e-scooters.”

EU approval

However, until said regulations are in place, the department said e-scooters will remain illegal for use on public roads. Once in place and approved by the EU, those e-scooters that do not comply with regulation will remain illegal.

The EU approval process, known as TRIS, is a compulsory step in the regulation of e-scooters in member states under single market rules and takes a minimum of 12 weeks. Therefore, the Government expects e-scooters to be legal in Ireland by the fourth quarter of 2023.

“I am very pleased that this substantial Act has been enacted into law. It will make our roads safer for all road users and give legal certainty to those who are choosing to get around on new forms of mobility,” said Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD.

“Importantly, these provisions will help encourage more people to choose new convenient ways to travel that help them avoid time-wasting congestion and gridlock.

“In doing so, they will contribute to freeing up road space, which in turn means that we can allocate more space to provide improved, faster and more frequent public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure.”

Bumpy ride ahead

Many Irish and European mobility companies, such as Bolt, Voi and Zeus, have been eyeing the Irish market for years now, hoping to hit the roads with their e-scooters as soon as legislation allows for it.

“We commend the Irish government for taking this long-awaited and forward-thinking step in legalising electric scooter use,” said Damian Young, CEO of Zeus.

“We are eager to partner with towns and cities in Ireland to build efficient and eco-friendly transportation networks that enhance connectivity and offer residents and visitors a convenient and sustainable way to move around.”

But e-scooters have been the subject of controversy in other parts of Europe. In April, Paris voted to ban rental e-scooters from its streets after many raised concerns the battery-operated devices were unsafe as a mode of transport and causing a nuisance on the roads.

“It’s very expensive – five euros for 10 minutes – it’s not very sustainable, and above all, it’s the cause of a lot of accidents,” city mayor Anne Hidalgo told reporters at the time.

According to figures from An Garda Síochána released earlier this month, there have been 16 collisions involving e-scooters in Ireland which resulted in either a fatality or serious injury since the beginning of the year.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic