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Privately owned scooters are in widespread use on Irish roads although not technically legal before now. Rolling News
buzzing around

New e-scooter laws mean electric scooter rental schemes can now be legal in Irish cities

Electric scooters are legal on Irish roads from today.

IRISH LOCAL AUTHORITIES can begin licensing electric scooter sharing schemes – allowing people to hire a scooter on the street and leave it at their destination – after the devices become legal today.

The Department of Transport has confirmed that councils will be able to set up licensing and contractual arrangements with rental companies, in consultation with the National Transport Authority (NTA).

It added that such shared mobility schemes “align with government policy” on climate action and sustainable transport.

Scooter sharing schemes are in place in cities across Europe – but Paris brought its five-year experiment with such schemes to an end last September with an outright ban.

The devices were loathed by some Parisians for clogging streets when not in use and toppled over, and for causing a nuisance and risk to pedestrians – but welcomed by others as a green and convenient way to get around. Non-rental electric scooters remain legal in Paris.

Other cities, including Oslo and Stockholm, have restricted the number of scooters allowed on their streets over safety concerns. Oslo imposed a night-time ban on scooter rental in 2021 due to higher accident numbers at night – although it is now considering reversing that.

parisfrancejune2022messystackofrentalelectric Rental electric scooters in Paris, June 2022. Shutterstock / EricBery Shutterstock / EricBery / EricBery

The Irish Department of Transport said the “number, nature and composition” of any e-scooter scheme would be a matter for local authorities and the NTA.

Limerick City Council said it has “considered” the introduction of a shared e-scooter scheme, and continues to liaise with the NTA on the matter.

Galway City Council said it will “review the new regulations to establish if local byelaws are required for e-scooter / e-bike sharing schemes, to ensure the safe operation of such a scheme in the city”.

The NTA said it has “no immediate plans” for the rollout of shared e-scooter schemes.

FREENOW, which operates as a taxi service in Ireland, have said that they welcome the new legislation and hope to integrate e-scooters for rental on their app in Ireland, as they do in other parts of Europe.

New rules

Electric scooters have had a visible presence on Irish roads for several years – but until now their use on the road has technically been illegal.

The Road Traffic (Electric Scooters) Regulations, signed by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and published last Tuesday, impose a strict set of rules on e-scooters and their users.

Nobody under 16 years of age is permitted to use an e-scooter in a public place.

There are also restrictions on what type of scooters can be used. The maximum speed allowed is 20km per hour, and the maximum power output permitted will be 400W.

It is illegal for more than one person to travel on a single e-scooter. 

All scooters must be fitted with front and rear lights and two independent braking systems – to ensure that if one fails, the scooter is still safe on the road.

The Road Safety Authority have said that users of e-scooters must follow the same rules as cyclists – and have the same rights as road users.

Includes reporting by © AFP 2024

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