Manual V Electric
Q. What is the definition of a mechanically propelled vehicle?
A. “A vehicle, means the propulsion of which is electrical”
Q. What is the definition of a manual scooter?
A. If the electric scooter requires pedalling or an initial manual scoot to take off and the motor only kicks in once the scooter is already in motion, it is not classified as a mechanically propelled vehicle.
Q. What is the definition of an electric scooter?
A. If the electric scooter can be propelled from a stationary position by motor alone it is classed as a mechanically propelled vehicle.
Q. If a scooter is classed as a mechanically propelled vehicle, what does that mean?
A. If a scooter falls under the classification of a category of a mechanically propelled vehicle it falls under the Road Traffic Act 1961 as amended which means that the owner must ensure the scooter is road worthy, he or she must have a licence for the scooter, he or she must tax and insure the scooter, and he or she must wear a helmet.
There is much confusion surrounding models of scooters and there are calls for legislative change to incentives the use of electric scooters and to regulate what models can be used on footpaths and bicycle lanes.
It is currently illegal to ride scooters in bicycle lanes in Ireland and their use on footpaths is unfortunately very unclear.
In other EU countries such as Belgium electric scooters are regulated the same way as bicycles provided the electric scooters do not exceed a speed limit of 18km/h.
In France electric scooters can be used on footpaths if they do not exceed the speed of 6km/h, greater speed scooters are restricted to bicycle lanes and there are calls for new laws requiring users to hold insurance and a licence similar to what is required for small motorcycles in France.
In San Francisco electric scooters are banned on footpaths but can be used on bicycle lanes.
The conclusion of this is that the law in Ireland applies differently depending on the specifications of the model of the specific scooter. The regulations are currently grey on whether or not scooters can or cannot be used in bicycle lanes or on footpaths and clear regulation is required.
People using scooters who are not aware that they require a licence, tax and insurance require clarification and clear legislation if the scooter is deemed to fall under the classification of a mechanically propelled vehicle under the Road Traffic Act 1961.
Clear legislation needs to be endorsed in respect of the law surrounding electric scooters in Ireland.