In road traffic, the same rules apply to users of electric scooters and scooters as to cyclists. This is despite the fact that the way they are driven has nothing to do with cycling.
On the road, they are a risk and unpredictable. Drivers can often only guess what the driver of the electric scooter in front of them is up to. It is high time to set clear rules for these means of transport.
As a car driver, you may have had to react quickly to a sudden change in the electric scooter in front of you. It could have been driving in the middle of your lane and ignoring the surrounding traffic.
As a pedestrian, you’ve probably encountered a situation where an e-scooter user was riding on the sidewalk without regard for pedestrians or parents with strollers. Such situations are increasing with the warm weather and the opportunity to shortcut your way around town on a shared electric scooter.
Experts from the Road Safety Team encounter irresponsible behaviour of e-scooter users almost daily. Riding on the pavement, collisions with cyclists, riding in pedestrian zones are not exceptional. An e-scooter, like a scooter, is legally considered a bicycle, even though it has little in common with the way a bicycle is ridden.
“The user must indicate a change of direction by lifting, which can be done quite safely on a bicycle. It is not safe on a scooter, for example, because it has short handlebars. It is also less stable and if the rider wants to indicate a change of direction by bending over, there is a risk of falling. This is also why you rarely see someone on a scooter indicating that they want to turn. The driver behind him doesn’t actually know his intentions,” says Markéta Novotná, traffic education methodologist at the Road Safety Team.
Children often ignore the rules in traffic and lack the obligatory bicycle helmet. Accidents involving scooters and electric scooters rank below cyclists in the statistics. Last year, a total of 3 157 traffic accidents involving cyclists occurred in Czech municipalities. Children under 14 years of age represent more than 8% (8.24%) of the accidents in this statistic.
However, the use of protective gear when riding an electric scooter is not unnecessary. While a fall or collision may result in a scrape or laceration, the injury need not be serious.
“People should always be mindful of their safety and properly assess their abilities, strengths and the pitfalls of the course,” Georgiev said. Scooters and electric scooters should be a separate category of transport. The discussion should have started a long time ago. A scooter, like a bicycle, does not belong on the pavement. Yet users ride on them and quite unexpectedly alternate between the pavement and the road without indicating a change of direction. They are supposed to ride on the right side of the road, which is often not the case.
The minimum age for driving an electric scooter varies from country to country in Europe. In Italy, for example, the minimum age for driving is 18. From the age of 14, you can drive it with an AM licence, which is a licence to drive a motor vehicle with a design speed not exceeding 45 km/h. In Switzerland, it’s 16, in Germany 14 and in Austria 12.
In the Netherlands, electric scooters are perceived as mopeds, but since they don’t have a driver’s seat, they are banned. In the Czech Republic, a child under the age of 10 can only ride an electric scooter without the supervision of a person over the age of 15 on a cycle path, on a cycle and pedestrian path and in a residential zone throughout its entire area.
In the pedestrian zone, however, only if a traffic sign allows cyclists to enter. In the “Cyclist Zone”, the maximum speed limit is 30 km/h. Which is often not respected by users.
“We should consider whether such vehicles belong on the road at all. If so, then let us give them clearly defined rules that ensure the safety not only of the users of these vehicles, but also of all road users and pedestrians on the pavements. Let’s ask where we want to allow electric scooters and where we don’t,” says Jan Polák on behalf of the Road Safety Team.