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Is uniform regulation of electric scooters coming soon?

On 28 February 2023, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) published its report on the harmonized regulation of electric scooters. Currently, the regulation of electric scooter usage in the EU varies from one Member State to another. The catalyst for the move towards uniform legislation in the EU is the rapid increase in the use of electric scooters over the last five years and the rise in the number of deaths and serious injuries associated with them.

According to the ETSC report, in Germany alone there were around 2,100 accidents involving electric scooters in 2020, rising to around 5,500 in 2021. In 2022 around 7,600 people were injured and 11 people died. Experts pointed out that the minimum age for using the vehicle is currently 14, and no licence is required to drive it.

In the report, the Council would require larger wheels, with a minimum diameter of 30.5 centimetres, and the mandatory wearing of helmets by scooter users. The proposals also include a ban on the use of electric scooters under the age of 16 and a ban on riding with passengers, on pavements, while using a handheld mobile phone or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and anti-tampering measures to prevent use at unsafe speeds. The legislation would also make it compulsory to fit independent front and rear brakes, lights and audible warning devices.

While the report itself is limited to technical requirements and rules for riders, ETSC points out that many of its existing recommendations are for safety improvements for vulnerable road users, such as 30 km/h speed limits, separated networks of cycle lanes, low traffic zones and higher levels of enforcement, will benefit all road users, including e-scooter users.