Start-ups in the micromobility scene will have to wait for legal clarity on e-scooters as the Government delays long-awaited legislation.
As a plethora of micromobility start-ups look to launch services in Ireland, a new policy plan indicates that e-scooter operators will have to wait until 2023 to get the green light.
The Irish Government’s 2022-2025 action plan for the National Sustainable Mobility Policy was published yesterday (7 April). It says that regulation to ensure the safe use of and minimum safety and design requirements for “powered personal transporters”, or e-scooters, will not be introduced until 2023.
The Government published the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021 last October, which would regulate the use of e-scooters on Irish roads, and said legislation was expected to be given the green light before Christmas.
However, the bill is still making its way through the Oireachtas as finer details are hammered out.
This means that people who use e-scooters on Irish roads without tax and insurance are doing so illegally under current rules, and micromobility start-ups are unable to break into the Irish market with e-scooter sharing services.
Many companies are looking at this opportunity in Ireland, including Zipp Mobility, Zeus, Bolt, Bird, Lime, Dott, Voi and Tier.
As far back as February last year, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, said that his department was committed to “resolving legal barriers to the use of e-scooters” and other similar vehicles.
But Aisling Dunne, head of public policy for Bolt in Ireland, said the further delay is “worrying”. Bolt pledged last year to introduce 10,000 e-scooters to the Irish market once legislation allows.
“Electric scooters are currently being used in every city and town in Ireland, without the benefit of any regulation or control. Legislation is needed to ensure the protection of these scooter users and all other road users,” Dunne said.
“This delay will also prevent the introduction of a new sustainable mode of shared transport across Ireland, which would dramatically reduce reliance on private vehicles. The government needs to engage with the industry to find ways to speed up the legislative process.”
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