Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Questions (246)

Eamon Ryan


246. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if electric scooters are considered to be mechanically propelled vehicles; and the requirements for road use of scooters. [21052/19]

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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. Whether or not a vehicle requires a push-start is legally irrelevant.

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 that the Road Safety Authority research how escooters and other such vehicles are regulated in other countries, particularly other Member States. The goal is 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. I would 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.