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Should Ireland legalise electric scooters? The public are being asked to have their say

The Department of Transport received a report on regulating PPTs today.

Image: Shutterstock/Leika production

THE DEPARTMENT OF Transport has launched a public consultation process on whether so-called Powered Personal Transporters (PPTs) – including electric scooters – should be legalised.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has received a report from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to carry out research into how other EU member States regulate the use of the vehicles.

The report recommends that legislation should be developed which encourages the use of protective equipment for users of PPTs, provides training and safety standards regarding their use, as well as guidance on where they can be used.

It also found that the use of such vehicles could help Ireland reach its climate emissions targets.

“Providing these alternative travel means are sustainable, they will ultimately reduce carbon emissions and provide a benefit to the environment,” it reads.

A two-month public consultation process has now been launched to allow the public and interested parties have their say.

It is understood that the Department is concerned about the effectiveness of regulations that have been introduced in other countries, with sources stating it is most likely the case the new legislation will need to be introduced here.

Speaking about the launch of the consultation process, Ross said that Ireland was not unique in dealing with the challenge presented by the use of PPTs.

“Administrations across Europe are facing similar challenges,” he said.

“The report commissioned by the RSA outlines how there is no universal consensus in other countries in how to approach this issue.

“I believe this eight-week consultation period will allow us to hear from a wide variety of stakeholders, interest groups, safety organisations and members of the public which will better inform us as to how to address this changing commuter and transport landscape.”

Electric scooters have surged in popularity in recent months, but currently exist in a legal grey area in Ireland because they do not meet the criteria for vehicle registration.

It is technically illegal to use them without a licence, tax or insurance, because they are considered ‘mechanically propelled vehicles’ under the Road Traffic Act 1961.

Although the scooters continue to be used in Irish towns and cities, there have been reports of gardaí confiscating them, leading to calls for more legal clarity on their use.

The Department’s consultation process will end on 1 November.

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