Amendments to the Road Traffic and Roads Bill have been proposed, moving one step closer to the regulation of e-scooters on Irish roads.
The Government has approved amendments to the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021, which will see the removal of an age limit for e-scooter ownership and the establishment of a new office to oversee Ireland’s EV infrastructure growth.
Cabinet first gave the green light to the bill in October last year, paving the way for the regulation of e-scooters on Irish roads. The bill completed its second stage in the Dáil in November and now that amendments have been approved by Government, they will be presented at committee stage of the bill.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, who proposed the amendments, said that while the bill is already a substantial one, the amendments are important and “will prove very worthwhile”.
He said that powered personal transporters (PPTs) such as e-scooters had been discussed in particular because it is an area “where the technology is changing very rapidly”.
One of the amendments will see the definition of PPT weight, speed and power output varied in future regulations to enable prompt response in the dynamic sector.
“It is important that we can respond to what are sure to be many changes in this area in the relatively near future,” he added.
Charlie Gleeson, founder and CEO of Zipp Mobility, welcomed the amendments and said the ability to adapt maximum levels of the speed, weight and power of e-scooters “will be critical to ensure that regulations stay up to date”.
Headquartered at NovaUCD, Zipp is one of many micromobility start-ups waiting to hit Irish roads as soon as the Government legalises e-scooters.
A new Office of Low Emission Vehicles will be set up by way of the amendments to undertake new functions in relation to recharging infrastructure for zero to low-emission vehicles.
The age limit of 16 for owning or being supplied e-scooters has also been scrapped in the amendments. The Government said the move would be “unenforceable” because ownership of PPTs does not need to be registered and there is no requirement for people to carry proof of age in Ireland.
Duncan Robertson, Ireland and UK general manager for e-scooter operator Dott, also welcomed the amendments but said that the company will require all its riders to be at least 18 years old because of safety concerns.
“E-scooters offer Irish commuters a convenient and environmentally friendly transport option that will help reduce city congestion. We look forward to working with policy-makers towards an Irish roll-out in the coming months,” he added in a statement.
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