E-scooters can become a viable mode of transport to allow people to commute around the city centre and up Cork's hills, according to Cork Chamber.
The mode of transport is currently restricted under the Road Traffic Act 1961 and the use of e-scooters on roads must be accompanied by insurance as they are classed as mechanically propelled vehicles.
The Department of Transport is currently carrying out a consultation on vehicles such as mini-scooters, electric unicycles and electric bicycles that are not pedal-assisted. These vehicles are known collectively as Powered Personal Transporters (PPTs).
Sarah Thatt-Foley, senior public affairs executive, at Cork Chamber said e-scooters, in particular, should be legalised and regulated as soon as possible as Cork looks to move to more sustainable and clean methods of transport as outlined in the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy which is set to be adopted by both city and county council this year.
“E-scooters are a new, innovative, clean and exciting development in urban mobility and their use should be encouraged across Ireland. Already their popularity has grown exponentially across Europe and the US, and it is the view of Cork Chamber that e-scooters and e-bikes should be allowed to become part of Cork’s and Ireland’s urban landscape as an environmentally sustainable form of transport,” said Ms Thatt-Foley.
“This view is supported by our members. According to our latest economic survey from quarter three 2019, 79% of responding businesses in Cork support legislation for e-scooters and e-bikes, whereas only 7% oppose.
“E-scooters also present an excellent opportunity to become integrated with our public transport system through sharing systems as a ‘last mile solution’. Ireland has the opportunity now to put regulations in place the structures in place for a successful integration.
“While we should learn lessons from other European cities in terms of preventing cluttering of the urban environment, we hope to see e-scooters legalised soon as a sustainable commuting alternative perfect for the hills of Cork,” Ms Thatt-Foley added.
The Chamber said in a submission to the PPTs consultation that the minimum age for use should be 16 and regulation should be set by central Government and not local authorities to minimise confusion.