The Deputy is correct in making a distinction between push scooters and electrically powered scooters, also referred to as escooters. Push scooters are not mechanically propelled vehicles, and I have no plans to regulate them.
Escooters, however, are mechanically propelled vehicles under the terms of road traffic legislation. The Road Traffic Act 1961 defines a mechanically propelled vehicle as a vehicle intended or adapted for propulsion by mechanical means, including a bicycle or tricycle with an attachment for propelling it by mechanical power, whether or not the attachment is being used. It also includes a vehicle the means of propulsion of which is electrical, or partly electrical and partly mechanical.
Escooters fall into this category, and are therefore considered to be mechanically propelled vehicles. Any users of such vehicles in a public place (as defined in the Road Traffic Act 1961) must have insurance, road tax and a driving licence, with penalties under road traffic laws (including fixed charge notices, penalty points, fines and possible seizure of the vehicle) for not being in compliance with these requirements.
As it is currently not possible to tax or insure escooters or electric skateboards, they are not considered suitable for use in a public place.
I have requested the Road Safety Authority to research how escooters and other such vehicles are regulated in other countries, particularly other EU Member States. I am keen to understand the road safety implications of the use of such vehicles on public roads, especially when interacting with other vehicles as well as vulnerable road users.
I will make a decision on whether or not to amend existing legislation when I have received and considered the outcome of the Authority’s research, and not before then. I will need to be satisfied that permitting such vehicles on our roads will not give rise to safety concerns, both for the users themselves and for all other road users including cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.