Electric scooters seized by Gardaí

Mikey Walsh

Electric scooters have become a Guard target.

Gardaí are clamping down on electric scooter usage after the Department of Transport (DOT) has warned users can be fined, given penalty points and have their vehicles seized by Gardaí.

Under current road safety legislation, it is illegal to use a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public space without road tax, license, and insurance.

The scooters have surged in popularity in recent years and the conversation has shifted to their regulation.

Confusion over the electric scooter legality has arisen as Dublin Chamber of Commerce, made a submission to the DOT in regard to the legislation that is seen as outdated by much of the users, as it does not take technologically advanced scooter technology into account.

It is a legal grey area where scooter users do not accept the law and see it as the same as using a bicycle, and some types of e-scooters are not considered mechanically propelled.

The Xiaomi m365 scooter adds more confusion to the grey area as it technically is not a mechanically propelled vehicle.

The m365 needs to reach a speed of 4mph before the motor kicks in, meaning the throttle cannot be used from a standing start, and are therefore mechanically assisted vehicles.

TD Noel Rock has spoken out about the need to remove the grey area around electric scooters and make a clear distinction in the eyes of the law.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has come under fire to update the law in regulating vehicles that are already in use on Irish roads.

Ross has said that he has asked the RSA to research the new technologies and see how other countries have dealt with the issue.

Many scooters work on the same system and the case is argued that they are not illegal to use on public roads, footpaths, and bike lanes.

Scooter users can be seen throughout the capital on footpaths and roads and which could be a way of easing congestion.

Dublin City Council has welcomed the incorporation of new transport technology through their Smart Dublin initiative but a Council official was also quoted saying “It is the council’s view that the use of electric scooters on public roads is illegal”.

Scooters that are seized are currently regarded by Gardaí as the same as motorbikes despite most having a top speed of around 25 kph.

Mikey Walsh

Image Credit: Wikipedia