What is the current situation with e-scooters?
Despite the growing popularity of E-scooters they are currently illegal on Irish roads and this is due to the fact that they are classified in law as mechanically propelled vehicle or MPVs. In order for an MPV to be used legally on our roads, it needs to be taxed, insured, registered, and driven by someone with a license. However, it is not possible to tax, insure or register an E-scooter at the moment so they cannot meet the legal criteria for road usage.
The Road traffic act has been signed into law so are e-scooters now legal?
No not yet, the new Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 creates a new category of vehicle namely powered personal transporters or PPTs. PPTs, including e-scooters that comply with new regulations, will be legally allowed on our roads. However, the Act is a primary piece of legislation but the regulations known as secondary legislation will follow and it is not anticipated that this process will be complete until the end of the year so until then e-scooters will remain illegal.
What are the regulations?
There are two types of regulations, technical and usage.
The technical regulations are the regulatory standards that E-scooters for use on public roads must comply with to ensure that they are well-constructed and safe to use. In addition, vehicles must comply with power, speed and weight limits for e-scooters.
-have a maximum continuous rated power output of 400W or less,
– have a maximum net weight of 25kg (batteries inclusive),
– have a maximum design speed of 20 km/h or less,
– have wheels with a minimum diameter of 200mm,
– be fitted with front and rear lights and reflectors, brakes and a bell, and
– be fitted with a manufacturer’s plate certifying the power output, weight and design speed.
Those e-scooters that comply with the technical regulations, will be permitted for use on Irish roads, subject to the following usage conditions:
-You must be at least 16 years of age to use an e-scooter on public roads or in public places.
– The carriage of goods will not be permitted.
– Only one person may use an e-scooter at any one time.
– An e-scooter will not be allowed to have a seat. Use of a seat on an e-scooter makes it more unstable and gives the rider less time to react to any obstacles or issues.
– An ordinary speed limit of 20 km/h will be set for e-scooters. Even if an e-scooter can travel faster than 20km/h, it will not be permitted to exceed the speed limit. This is due to the increased risk of injury at higher speeds.
– The amended Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997 (SI 182/1997) will forbid the use of e-scooters on footpaths or in pedestrianised areas (except on cycle tracks in pedestrianised areas).
– E-scooters are not permitted for use on motorways.
Will there be penalties?
Among general penalties for traffic and driving offences, fixed charge notice (FCN) penalties will apply. The financial value for these FCNs has been set at €50.
What about e-bikes?
The act also clarifies the legal position on E-bikes so there will be no change to the legal status of pedal-assist e-bikes with the following characteristics:
– power output up to 250W,
– and where the motor cuts out at 25 km/h and does not operate without pedalling.
These will continue to be classed as pedal cycles. People who own, or are considering buying, an e-bike below these thresholds can continue to use them on public roads and in cycle and bus lanes. They will not need to register, tax or insure their e-bikes or hold a driver’s licence.
E-mopeds are high–power e-bikes that have:
– a power output over 250W,
– a motor that does not cut out at 25kmh, or
– a motor that continues to operate or can propel the vehicle without pedalling, regardless of speed.
E-mopeds are classified under EU Type Approval Regulations (EU) No 168/2013 as an L1e Category (Light two-wheel powered vehicle). They will be classed as mechanically propelled vehicles (MPVs), as for mopeds or motorcycles. This change brings Ireland in line with EU law. E-mopeds will have to be registered, taxed and insured to be used on Irish roads and their drivers will need an AM licence.
When will these new rules come into effect?
The new rules for e-mopeds will come into effect once the administrative arrangements for registration, driver testing, driver licensing and taxation are in place, which is expected to be in Q1 2024. Owners of e-mopeds, or anyone considering buying an e-moped, will not need to make any changes yet and can continue to legally use their e-moped like a pedal cycle or e-bike until then. The rules of the roads for mopeds and motorcycles will apply. E-mopeds will not be permitted in cycle or bus lanes, or on motorways and posted speed limits will apply.
28th June, 2023