While nearly 50 per cent support making e-scooters legal for use in Ireland, 65 per cent of those surveyed by AA Ireland said insurance should be required when using the vehicles, 41 per cent said tax should be required and 54 per cent said users should require a licence.
Currently, e-scooters are classed as ‘mechanically propelled vehicles’. This means that they cannot be used in a public place without tax, insurance and an appropriate category of driving licence.
However, on Tuesday the Cabinet approved a new Road Traffic Bill to legislates for the use of e-scooters and e-bikes on Irish roads. The Bill is due to go before the Dáil and should be concluded before the end of this year.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport stated that the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021 will create a new vehicle category to be known as ‘Powered Personal Transporters’ (PPTs) which will include e-scooters and similar devices.
The AA Ireland survey of 8,241 people found that 60 per cent of people do not think e-scooters are used safely in Ireland and 39 per cent do not support legalisation.
Speed limits and safety gear
If legalised, 64 per cent said strict speed limits should be put in place, while 84 per cent said safety restrictions should be required - such as obligatory helmets, lights and high-visibility clothing.
Just 4 per cent of those surveyed said e-scooters should be allowed on footpaths, while 35 per cent said users of e-scooters should follow the same rules as bicycles.
Under the new Bill, a speed limit of 25km/h will be implemented, as well as measures on how to deal with using these vehicles under the influence of alcohol, careless driving or using mobile phones while driving. An age limit will also be introduced, making it an offence to supply PPTs to persons under the age of 16 years. They will also not be allowed on motorways or bus lanes, but drivers will be permitted to use cycleways.
Anna Cullen of AA Ireland said the AA is broadly supportive of the proposed conditions of use and the introduction of legislation to allow for the use of e-scooters in Ireland. “It is important, however, that at all times any supporting legislation legalising such devices protects the safety of all road users through restrictions on what kind of e-scooter can be used and where.”
“As the use of such devices increases in the coming years, assuming for their legalisation, a greater investment in infrastructure to meet the needs of those commuting by both conventional bicycle and e-scooter will certainly be needed,” said Ms Cullen.