Thursday, 17 November 2022
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
145. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way that it is intended to classify electric scooters in the context of use of cycle lanes, speed restrictions and obligations to get insurance; and his views on the separations between the traditional divide between mechanically-propelled and those propelled by personal power. [57181/22]
E-scooters have become widely available in recent years. In Ireland, as elsewhere, much of our road traffic legislation pre-dates vehicles of this kind. Under Irish law, they are mechanically propelled vehicles, and may only be used in a public place if they are registered, taxed and insured and the user has the appropriate driving licence. As e-scooters are not type-approved, they cannot be registered or taxed and there is no appropriate licence category, and they cannot be legally used on public roads.
It is intended, as soon as possible and in accordance with the Programme for Government, to provide a clear legal framework for the use of e-scooters on public roads. The Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021, currently before the Oireachtas, introduces a new vehicle category, powered personal transporters or PPTs. Following enactment of the Bill, e-scooters will no longer be classed as mechanically propelled vehicles and will instead be classed as PPTs.
It is important to clarify that the Bill does not allow or regulate the use of e-scooters. Instead, it enables regulations to be made to allow the use of specific PPTs, such as e-scooters, on public roads.
Following regulation, e-scooters will, in many respects, be treated in the same way as bicycles in relation to use and to traffic legislation. It is not intended to subject e-scooters to tax, insurance, registration or operator licensing requirements. However, I do intend to restrict their use to public roads and cycle lanes and to apply design restrictions for them to be legal to use on public roads. E-scooters which do not comply with these criteria will remain illegal for public road use. A maximum speed limit will apply and technical requirements, including for lighting and construction, will be introduced.