Calls made for Government to take electric scooter bill ‘on board’

by Dublin Gazette
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A bill being proposed for the regulation of the use of electric scooters will see a speed limit introduced for the devices, and potential fines for those without helmets.

The bill is currently passing through the Dail, after legislation was put forward by Fianna Fail in an attempt to regulate the scooters.

Some of the regulations include a 25km/hr speed limit, the introduction of fines for those who break the limit, and potential fines for those who fail to wear a helmet. It would also be an offence to drive an e-scooter in a public place without reasonable consideration for others.

Fianna Fáil TD John Curran says the government should take the bill on board, and says the proposed bill would remove the requirement for the scooters to be taxed and insured also.

Recently, a man from Rathfarnham appeared in court alleged to have used an electric scooter in a public place without insurance.

Curran said: “Currently, e-scooter users should have insurance, road tax and a driving licence, with penalties under road traffic laws for not being in compliance with these requirements. Despite this, it is currently not possible to tax or insure e-scooters, so they are essentially illegal on Irish roads.

“Despite the increase in popularity of e-scooters; Shane Ross has failed to introduce a proper regulatory framework for the safe use of e-scooters on our city’s streets even having received the Road Safety Authorities report on the issue two months ago.

“E-scooters offer a green alternative to commuters making short journeys around the City and suburbs and have the potential to reduce congestion. I see parents using them to do the school drop off while their children scoot or cycle beside them, this has to be encouraged.

“There is no doubt that these devices have the potential to make a very positive impact on transport in the city and we need a plan.”

An E-Scooter being used in Washington. Picture: Flickr

The proposed bill would alter the definition of mechanically propelled vehicles, removing the need for tax and insurance, but also lays down several safety requirements.

“We want to see less cars on the roads, less congestion and less emissions but we want people to be responsible and safe and to minimise the potential for any accidents and injuries.

“These devices have the potential to serve the same purpose in our city as they do in many other major European cities, I will continue to follow up with the Minister in relation to this matter”, concluded Deputy Curran.

Deputy Noel Rock, Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, echoed many of Curran’s points, saying that the government ‘cannot keep dragging their heels’ on legislation.

Rock said: “I have been raising this issue with the Minister [for Transport, Shane Ross] for more than a year now. We cannot keep dragging our heels on this.

“The popularity of e-scooters has increased significantly, and I know more people would take up this mode of transport if they had clarity about the rules and regulations surrounding them.

“E-scooters have the capacity to help to ease congestion in Dublin, and in other cities and towns in Ireland, but they also have a positive effect on our environment, something which is important to all of us.

“I have also met with people who are keen to operate a sharing scheme, similar to the Dublin Bikes scheme, for e-scooters. This works well in other countries as part of the options available to commuters and to tourists.

“A public consultation on this issue is due to finish in the coming weeks and it is imperative that the Minister does not delay further.

“I understand that legislation on this area must be carefully considered, and that there is no universal approach identified abroad, but just because an area is complex does not mean that we should simply put it on the long finger.”

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