Get an e-scooter for Christmas? Here's what the law says ·

2022-12-27 00:31:44 By : Mr. SPECO SPECO

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E-SCOOTERS HAVE BECOME very popular on Irish roads over the last three years. 

And while the popularity of these vehicles has, so too have the number of road traffic incidents involving them.

E-scooters have been involved in over 1,300 traffic incidents in the last two and a half years, according to figures released by An Garda Síochána.

Details around tax and insurance on these scooters are still being ironed out. 

So, what are the laws right now relating to e-scooters right now? 

At the time of writing, there are no specific laws or regulations currently in place to govern the use of these vehicles.

What this means is that they can be used without the need for any form of tax, insurance or other documentation which you might consider when driving a car, for example. 

However, there is proposed legislation which is set to come into effect from next year.

The main crux of this legislation is that all e-scooters that are unable to travel greater than 25km/h will not require tax and insurance. 

According to Irish solicitors’ firm Augustus Cullen, it is expected that within the legislation there will also be technical and safety standards for e-scooters and e-bikes, like headlights and the types of materials which will be allowed to make the frame of the scooter.

Under the Bill, it is expected that a number of safety measures for use in public areas will be introduced including:

It can be expected that once the legislation is passed there will be a significant increase in the number of e-scooters operating in public places, as many of the major e-scooter service operators plan to roll out rental services in urban areas through mobile apps in Ireland. 

Bolt, which operates in over 500 cities across 45 countries, is one of the operators hoping to roll out its electric scooter services to cities throughout Ireland once the regulation is in place early next year.

This will mean people in Irish cities will be able to rent these scooters, much like they can rent bikes.

Head of Public Policy for Bolt Ireland, Aisling Dunne, said the firm is waiting on the legislation to be approved before it begins its rental service.

She said: “E-scooters have the potential to deliver a safe and sustainable transport option for cities and towns across Ireland. After years of seeing private scooters being used in a vacuum, without any regulations to govern user behaviour, we welcome the latest step towards developing a safe and sustainable framework for shared services to launch.

“Escooters can be used for short journeys in city centres, but can also facilitate quick and easy trip chaining, making public transport and walking options more viable for many people and supporting a move away from using the private car. We’re looking forward to engaging with active travel teams in the coming months to see how scooter schemes can help their cities.”

Parents are also being warned not to give their child the gift of a scrambler or quad bike this Christmas due to safety concerns.

According to stats released following a parliamentary question tabled by Fine Gael’s Emer Higgins, the anti-social use of scramblers has led to the seizure of 258 bikes in the last two years.

Figures released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) showed that 38% of those injured in incidents involving quad bikes or scramblers, in the period 2017 to 2021, were aged 18 or under.

Casualty figures show that between 2017 and 2021, 88 people were injured in collisions involving a quadbike or scrambler on a public road. In the same period there were four fatalities involving quad bikes or scramblers on public roads.

Keith Synnott, Consultant at the National Spinal Injuries Unit in the Mater Hospital,said: “Quad bikes and scramblers are not toys, they are heavy, dangerous pieces of machinery that can cause life changing injuries or death. Following a collision on these machines, riders risk serious spinal injury. 

“This could result in paralysis, which can mean being unable to walk or perhaps use your hands to feed yourself and loss of bowel or bladder control. Sometimes, even the inability to breath without the aid of a machine.

“Impacts often happen on areas of uneven ground or as a result of unstable vehicles, especially in the hands of children, leading to people falling and landing awkwardly or the vehicle landing on the rider. The dangers these machines pose means that they are not suitable gifts for children.”

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