Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Questions (430)

Noel Rock


430. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on recent confiscations of electric scooters; his plans to legislate to resolve this anomaly within the law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20460/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

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 and powered skateboards 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. There is no anomaly within the law.

I have requested the Road Safety Authority to research how escooters and other such vehicles are regulated in other countries, particularly other 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.

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, whether for the users of such machines or for other road users including cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

Enforcement of road traffic laws is a matter for An Garda Síochána.