Green signal for e-scooters in Ireland after Cabinet approval

19 Oct 2021

Image: © Mirko Vitali/Stock.adobe.com

Legislation is expected to be approved before Christmas, which will be welcome news for the e-scooter companies looking to launch in Ireland.

It has been a bumpy ride for e-scooters in Ireland, but Cabinet approval spells good news for the trending mode of transport.

Following from February’s promise to draft legislation to regulate the use of e-scooters and e-bikes in Ireland, the Government has published the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021 today (19 October).

Future Human

The bill will now go before the Oireachtas and legislation is expected to be given the green light before Christmas.

It sets out a new class of powered personal transporters, including e-scooters and e-bikes, and covers how the use of these vehicles can be regulated in public spaces.

“We committed in the Programme for Government to resolving legal barriers to the use of e-scooters, as well as e-bikes, and this bill will deliver on both of those commitments,” said Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD.

“These proposals in the bill should be seen as part of our wider efforts to encourage alternative forms of mobility, reduce our culture of reliance on the private car and open opportunities for active and healthy travel.”

While e-scooters have become an increasingly popular form of personal transport, these devices are not legal under current Irish road traffic law. The move is expected to be welcomed by existing users of e-scooters and by e-scooter sharing companies looking to launch operations in Ireland.

Expansion plans

German e-scooter company Tier Mobility, which has been waiting to make inroads in the Irish market, has welcomed the move as a strong support for the sector.

“We are one step closer to not only legally having e-scooters in Ireland, but also ensuring the country has the safest e-scooter regime in Europe,” said Benjamin Bell, director of public policy for Tier in Northern Europe.

In July, Tier began a collaboration with Irish micromobility tech company Luna and SmartDCU to launch Ireland’s first major e-scooter trial across Dublin City University’s five campuses.

Once legislation is passed, the company is looking at launching sharing schemes across the country. It has been in talks with partners in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Louth.

But Tier isn’t the only company eyeing up an Irish launch. Earlier this year, European competitor Bolt committed to launching e-scooter services in Irish cities.

The company’s new head of public policy, Aisling Dunne, also welcomed the publication of the bill today but said it could still be some time before we see e-scooter schemes on Irish roads due to the legislative hurdles that need to be crossed.

“We envision the tendering process for local authorities is unlikely to begin before summer 2022 and it realistically could be Christmas 2022 before rental electric scooters become accessible for Irish users.”

International players including Dott and Bird have also been preparing for a potential Irish launch, along with local start-ups BleeperZipp Mobility and Zeus.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com