Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (72)

Réada Cronin

Question:

72. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Transport the way in which the use of e-scooters on public pathways used by pedestrians can be monitored and policed in terms of space and speed and the safety of pedestrians; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7874/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Electric scooters are a type of powered personal transporter (PPT). PPTs are classed as mechanically propelled vehicles, the use of which requires a valid licence, tax and appropriate insurance in accordance with Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1961. As PPTs do not fall under any existing vehicle category, it is not currently possible to tax and insure them and there is no separate licence category for them. Therefore they may not be used on public roads and in public places. However, their use is permitted on private land with the permission of the landowner. While their use on public roads (including footways) is clearly illegal, I am aware that there has been some confusion on this matter and that commercial interests have not always highlighted the legal constraints on their use.

The intention is to legislate for e-scooters in accordance with the Programme for Government this year. This involves identifying and developing appropriate amendments to primary legislation across a range of complex areas. The work must be carried out in such a way that it does not undermine the overall framework of Road Traffic Law or Road Safety in general. Department officials are currently working on drafting the necessary changes to primary legislation. Subject to satisfactory resolution of the necessary issues, Minister Ryan intends to bring forward amendments to the enabling primary legislation when the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is before the Oireachtas.

Experience overseas has shown that a change of regime may have consequences for road safety, the management of roads and footpaths, the movement of traffic, public transport and goods, public health and the environment. These are all factors which must be taken into consideration when legislating.

Until new legislation is in place, the use of electric scooters will remain illegal. As such, their use on public roads and in public places is subject to the same enforcement by the Garda Síochána as any other illegal conduct. The conduct of such enforcement is a matter for the Garda.