E-scooters/Rentals: What Are the Rules for Urban Riding Across Europe?

Associated Press has just published a handy guide to the current (no pun intended) rules surrounding electric scooter use in European countries. If you’re on holiday, travelling for business and still think you’re down with the kids, or just fancy a change to an Uber ride, then this stuff is worth knowing;

Insurance Edge has edited and added to some of the AP copy by the way.

FRANCE

France’s government met last Monday with the victims of scooter accidents as it prepares new rules. Paris has more free-floating scooter companies than the entire United States, according to a June study, and at least 20,000 of the vehicles whizzing through its historic streets.

Most are app-based, rented scooters that you pick up and drop off wherever you want, and that’s especially appealing to tourists and teens. But victims’ groups say these users don’t know French road rules and can’t always be held liable for accidents. One scooter rider has been killed in Paris and scores injured this year.

Paris imposes 135-euro ($150) fines for riding e-scooters on the sidewalk. The mayor wants to limit scooter speeds to 20 kilometers per hour (12 mph) in most areas, and 8 kilometers per hour (5 mph) in areas with heavy foot traffic. She plans to limit the number of operators to three and cap the number of scooters.

New rules expected in September will expand those limits nationwide, and include potential speeding fines up to 1,500 euros ($1,680).

Insurance Edge Note: Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle through busy Parisian traffic will know that riding on the pavement is pretty much par for the course in the city. For the French of course, not tourists…

GERMANY

Berlin legalized electric scooters two months ago and quickly realized it needs tougher rules.

Last week, city officials in the German capital announced plans for on-street parking zones for the battery-powered vehicles, which are often left haphazardly on sidewalks. Berlin police will also step up patrols to prevent illegal behavior such as doubling.

German police say 34 people have been injured in scooter accidents just since mid-June, saying most were due to riders behaving carelessly. Proposed new laws would see fines for double-parking, parking on pavements or cycle paths, of up to 100 euros. Bild newspaper reported that the draft legislation, which includes fines for car drivers who block pavements, will be put before the German Parliament before the end of the year.

barcelona skate

SPAIN

Electric scooters dot the urban landscapes of major Spanish cities and the official traffic regulator has prepared new guidelines — but their approval hinges on Spanish politicians forming a new national government after a hung parliament emerged from April’s national election.

In the meantime, cities have adopted a hodge-podge of restrictions.

Helmets are only mandatory in Madrid for those under 16. Yet they are compulsory for everyone in Barcelona, where a 92-year-old died after she was run over by an electric scooter. The rider was investigated for involuntary homicide but was ultimately only fined because of the lack of regulations.

In Madrid, the city requires scooter-users to operate only in roads with no more than one lane per way, while imposing a maximum speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour (18 mph).

Seville last week joined the scooter ride-sharing frenzy, but the southern city’s rental operator is testing a way to self-restrict rides to and from designated private parking spots.

BELGIUM

Brussels — the capital of Belgium and the European Union — has been inundated with e-scooters over the last year.

But each of the 19 municipalities that make up Brussels has its own rules on the vehicles. Some impose fines or speed limits, while others impose parking restrictions.

The Brussels region is now gathering information from all these municipalities to streamline the rules. A city spokeswoman said there has been one deadly accident so far involving e-scooters and a major hospital says it’s treating up to two injuries a day related to scooter incidents.

Helmets are not required by law, but debate is swirling around obliging scooter and mono-wheel riders to wear them.

ITALY

Italy’s transportation ministry set new rules last month for e-scooters, Segways, hoverboards and other electric forms of transport.

Scooters are allowed in streets — but can’t go faster than 30 kilometers per hour (18 mph). In pedestrian areas, e-scooter speeds are limited to just 6 kph (3.6 mph). Now it’s up to Italian cities to designate areas and post signs, and establish rules for scooter-sharing businesses.

NETHERLANDS

In the Netherlands, bicycles still dominate. Electric scooters are a rare sight, and not allowed on public roads. From April 8th this year motorised scooters and smal mopeds were banned from the cycle paths of Amsterdam, which means e-scooters too. That categorises all scooters as road vehicles, but e-scooters cannot be insured for road use.

The Dutch association of insurers this week warned holiday makers who may have used e-scooters on vacation not to bring them home because riders are not insured on Dutch roads.

holiday insurance cuuver survey prague

CZECH REPUBLIC

The Lime sharing app business made its debut last year in Prague and this year the Czech government announced a partnership with Lime to develop a framework of rules in the City.

The new rules were negotiated with Lime CEO Toby Sun, who arrived in Prague from San Francisco to deal with the issue. According to the agreement, two zones will be created for scooters.

“The first is the red zone, where the scooter turns off if the driver enters it. We count on an extensive red zone in the pedestrian zones in Prague 1, on the Royal Route and in part of Prague 2. At the same time, Lime representatives must also contact other districts outside the centre to define more red zones,” Scheinherr said. The app relies on GPS to monitor the scooters’ location.

IE Comment: It’s interesting that the Prague/Czech authorities have demanded that automated software is linked to Lime scooters’ GPS tracking. We assume this means that the app immediately disables the e-scooters outside of designated tracks or zones – maybe this is the best way to regulate electric scooter usage in busy cities?

 

 

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