Fingal County Council lays the groundwork for e-scooters

20 Jan 2021

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Long-expected regulations that would allow for e-scooter sharing services in Ireland are due to come before the Dáil soon.

Fingal County Council is calling on players in the micromobility sector to have their say on providing services such as shared e-scooters.

The council is laying the groundwork for the expected legalisation of e-scooters on Irish roads. Ireland remains the last major European market where laws to allow for e-scooter sharing have not been passed, but Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, has committed to enacting the legislation.

Ahead of that, Fingal County Council has issued a request for information (RFI) from the market and the public for opinions on e-scooters and e-bikes in the locality, how they would be used on streets, public parks and areas owned by the council, and what licensing might look like.

The RFI allows for companies to pitch best practices for deploying micromobility vehicles and for people to air any concerns they may have.

“Fingal County Council is currently taking market soundings on the provision of shared e-mobility services, which includes both electric bicycles and electric scooters,” a spokesperson for the council said.

“The operation of a shared service, including specific licensing or permit requirements, will be in accordance with Government legislation that has yet to come before the Oireachtas.”

Late last year, Ryan said the regulations to allow for e-scooters would be passed by year’s end but this was delayed. The Department of Transport said the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is due before the Dáil shortly.

“The intention is to introduce an amendment at Committee Stage which would allow for regulation of the use of e-scooters,” it said in a statement.

E-scooter legislation is just one facet of the bill, which addresses a number of issues and contains provisions for introducing variable speed limits on the M50 that may lead to some debate and delay.

Fingal County Council isn’t alone in preparing for the eventual legalisation of e-scooters. Dublin start-up Bleeper raised €600,000 earlier this month and said it was preparing a fleet of e-scooters to join its bike-sharing services once the legislation allows for it.

Irish e-scooter start-up Zipp Mobility also said last week that it is making similar plans to launch in Ireland, while European e-scooter start-ups such as Voi are also eyeing an expansion into the Irish market.

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