In an attempt to stop the ‘scooter apocalypse.’
European cities seek justice for a two-wheeled phenomenon that has ‘refreshed’ urban landscapes around the world: electric scooters. Someone proposes to ban them altogether, someone — to force riders to pass driving exams.
Critics have noted a growing number of injuries and even deaths resulting from the use of electric scooters. They see them as a new nuisance for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. But supporters call them a leap into the future without suffocating pollution of the planet.
On Monday, the French government met with victims of scooter accidents and is now preparing new rules. According to a June study, in Paris alone, there are more companies producing this mode of transport than throughout the United States, and at least 20,000 scooters fly through its historic streets.
Most of them are rental vehicles that you can borrow and park anywhere, which is especially important for tourists and teenagers. But the victims say that these users do not know the French rules of the road and cannot always be held responsible for accidents. One rider was killed, and dozens were injured only this year.
Paris imposes a fine of 135 euros (150 dollars) for riding electronic scooters on the sidewalk. The mayor wants to limit the speed of the scooter to 20 kilometers per hour in most areas and to 8 kilometers per hour in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. She plans to limit the number of operators to three and limit the number of scooters.
The new rules, expected in September, will expand these restrictions nationwide and include potential fines of up to € 1,500 ($ 1,680).
Critics want to set age limits for riders and require them to pass driving tests and insurance so that the government does not pay for medical care or other damage that they cause.
Berlin legalized electric scooters two months ago and quickly realized that they needed stricter rules. Berlin police will also increase patrols to prevent illegal behavior. Since mid-June alone, 34 people were injured in scooter accidents, and most of them were caused by the careless behavior of the riders.
While people in favor of scooters say this is a way to reduce polluting modes of transport, the anti-scooter faction says that they are mainly used by people who would either go or ride public transport.
In the UK, riding an electronic scooter on sidewalks is prohibited, and their use on the roads is a crime because they do not comply with laws requiring insurance, taxes and driver rights. Lawyers protested, arguing that the time had come to change the rules.
The TV host and blogger YouTube, 35-year-old Emily Hartridge, became the first person in the UK to be killed while riding an electronic scooter — she was hit by a truck in south London. The next day, a 14-year-old boy received a head injury after a collision with a bus stop in southeast London.
Electric scooters dot the cityscapes of major Spanish cities, and the official traffic regulator has prepared new guidelines — but their approval depends on how Spanish politicians form a new national government after a parliament that was suspended in the April national elections.
Meanwhile, cities impose their own restrictions. In Madrid, helmets are only required for persons under 16 years of age. However, they are mandatory for everyone in Barcelona, where a 92-year-old woman died after being hit by an electric scooter. The scooter was tried for manslaughter, but he was ultimately fined for not complying with the rules.
Scooter users can ply on roads with no more than one lane in one direction, observing the maximum speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour.
Brussels — the capital of Belgium and the European Union — has been littered with such vehicles over the past year. But each of the 19 municipalities that make up Brussels has its own rules regarding vehicles. Some impose fines or speed limits, while others impose parking restrictions.
A spokeswoman for the city said that today there was one fatal accident due to a scooter, and a large hospital says that there are up to two injuries per day due to accidents on scooters.
Last month, the Italian Ministry of Transport established new rules for electronic scooters, segways, hoverboards and other modes of transport.
Scooters are allowed on the streets, but they cannot move faster than 30 kilometers per hour. In pedestrian areas, the speed of an electronic scooter is limited to 6 km/h. Now Italian cities have to identify areas and place signs, as well as establish rules for companies that share scooters.
In the Netherlands, bicycles still dominate. Electric scooters are a rare sight and are not allowed on public roads. The Dutch Insurers Association this week warned holidaymakers who may have used electronic scooters on vacation so that they would not bring them home because riders on Dutch roads are not insured.
In the Balkan countries, electronic scooters still operate in the gray zone, with the exception of Slovenia, which is developing legislation restricting them to pedestrian zones and bike paths.
The maximum speed will be limited to 25 kilometers per hour, but in pedestrian areas, electric scooters will have to remain within walking distance. The same local rules apply to them as for bicycles, which means that they must have lights, and helmets will be required for minor riders.
In Helsinki, Finland, for the first time, the police wrote four fines to users of rolling scooters — people made dangerous maneuvers on a busy sidewalk. Earlier, Finnish doctors stated that with the advent of city scooter rental services, the number of injuries in the city streets increased significantly.
Currently, there are six different scooter rental operators in the metropolitan area of Finland. The user can rent any scooter along the way, having previously passed the registration procedure in the application. The activation cost of the scooter is 1 euro, after which the user pays 25 cents for every minute.