Government officials in Estonia are discussing amendments to traffic regulations today that are slated to pave the way for regulating e-scooters on the nation’s streets, EER reports.
E-scooters arrived in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, at the start of last summer. According to various reports, they proved popular, but some remained skeptical citing safety concerns for users and pedestrians.
The new amendments, which have been talked about since last year, would create more comprehensive regulations for e-scooter use in the country. At present, e-scooters are classified as technical aids — most other countries refer to these as mobility aids.
If the amendments pass into law, the country’s Traffic Act would see the introduction of a new classification, “light mobility vehicles.” E-scooters and similar mobility technologies would fall into this category.
While the government is set to decide on the laws, there’s no signal as to when they will be enforced.
The laws would cap their top speed to 25 kph (about 15 mph) and require 10 to 15-year-olds to hold a bicycle license, while those under 16 would also be required to wear a helmet.
E-scooter traffic laws would also aim to protect pedestrians as well.
The bill would require e-scooter users to reduce their speed to match how fast pedestrians are walking when riding close to them. Naturally, it would also be made illegal to use an e-scooter when drunk.
The next 12 months is going to be pivotal for e-scooter use across Europe. Many firms have been operating in a sort of regulatory gray area. The stand-on scooters aren’t illegal, but they are subject to few direct regulations.
In the UK, e-scooters are illegal on public roads, however, the country is taking steps to introduce comprehensive regulations. The UK is currently trialing the tech in some parts of the country. Depending on how these trials go, and how other countries like Estonia enact laws, we could see a more consistent approach to regulating the mobility devices as countries watch and learn from each other.