If a safety organization operating on an international level has its way, e-scooters will be limited to 20 km/h. This will be a set speed from the factory and will affect wheel size. These European standards would be applied to those vehicles and are part of a larger range of technical standards.
That organization, The European Transport Safety Council, is also recommending that helmets should be used as a mandatory option for e-scooters. In addition, they are recommending a 16-year minimum age for operating an e-scooter.
The Road Safety Authority in Ireland is included in the ETSC. They are also looking to ban e-scooters for paths used for pedestrian traffic. E-scooters would also not be able to carry passengers if the guidelines are passed.
According to the ETSC, they were making recommendations because of how quickly e-scooters are growing in popularity over the past five years.
The Road Traffic and Roads Bill in Ireland will regulate e-scooter usage. They expect the legislation to be passed by the time March is over.
Although this legislation is pending, you currently cannot operate an e-scooter in a public location legally.
Gardaí gave some statistics on e-scooter incidents, including 746 involving traffic last year, including 554 collisions. In addition, there were 305 e-scooters have been seized since 2020.
Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Transport, spoke about regulations being drafted after the bill is enacted. This will allow for new personal transport to be considered.
The ETSC submitted the report along with The UK Parliamentary Advisory Council. They are looking for technical standards to be safer for those operating e-scooters. They consider technical standards for rule standardization in all of Europe to the extent possible. Regulations differ at this time from one area to another as far as minimum power, operation age, and the use of helmets are concerned. There are even differences in the speed limits for e-scooters.
According to the ETSC, the report considered data from a wide range of reports. This included safety testing on vehicles, hospital studies, and research from international sources.
Considering the injuries
According to the data, if an e-scooter is traveling at 20 km/h, both the rider and any involved pedestrians would likely suffer serious injuries. The pedestrian would be the more likely party in the accident to die.
According to research, there are 10 times more injury-related collisions associated with e-scooters than those riding a bicycle.
That is why the ETSC is calling for a speed limit set at the factory of 20 km/h. They would also like a 250 W maximum power rating. These and other recommendations, including not using handheld devices while riding a scooter or not operating them under the influence of alcohol or drugs, are being considered as well.
If the ETSC is correct, e-scooter-related collisions are not reported as often as other collisions. They also noted that up to 50% of those going to the hospital after an e-scooter accident had a head injury, and very few riders wore helmets.
Collisions involving only one vehicle were also common, and there seems to be an issue with e-scooter users riding while intoxicated.
Anti-tampering measures are also being included to keep the scooters from being operated at higher speeds. They would also like the e-scooter to have rear and front independent brakes, audible warning devices, and lights.
A 30.5 cm minimum wheel size is also suggested. According to research, larger wheel sizes such as those add stability when hitting a pothole.
Currently, 20.3 cm wheel sizes are the most common for e-scooters.
Antonio Avenoso, the director of the ETSC spoke about how common it has become to see e-scooter riders injured in hospitals in European cities.
He went on to speak about how sensible measures are necessary to keep road users safe, and to keep the use of these vehicles and injuries from coinciding with each other.
Avenoso spoke about how e-scooters were a mode of transport that could help keep a city sustainable. They were to have a lower risk than other vehicles.
He summed things up by saying it was the responsibility of the authorities in the city to have a safer environment for e-scooters operating on the road. This could include cycle lanes and possibly reduced speed limits to help limit accidents.