Are E-Scooters Legal in Ireland?
A question that’s being asked more and more frequently is “are electric scooters legal in Ireland?”. Although there appears to be a lot of confusion around this subject, the legislation is clear. Electric scooters cannot be driven on public roads, highways and footpaths without a driver’s license, tax and insurance. As it is not currently possible to tax or insure an electric scooter, it is technically illegal to ride an e-scooter on a public road.
You might ask why is it technically illegal for these green, traffic-easing two wheeled machines, which have similar speeds and serve a similar purpose as bicycles to be driven on the public roads? The answer lies in The Road and Traffic Act 1961 and how an electric scooter falls under the classification of a mechanically propelled vehicle.
The Road Traffic Act 1961 outlines the legal definitions and requirements for mechanically propelled vehicles in Ireland. Mechanically propelled vehicles are defined in the Act as “vehicles which are able to sustain propulsion mechanically”. Under the legislation it is a requirement for mechanically propelled vehicles to be taxed, insured and their operator is required to have the requisite driver’s license. With the technological enhancement of push scooters into electric scooters by means of electrical and mechanical components such as batteries, motors and throttles, they fall under the designation of mechanically propelled vehicles.
As there are no regulations in place to provide for the use of electric scooters on public roads, insurers have not yet made available an insurance package specific to electric scooters. While the Revenue Commissioners do not currently allow for the registration of an e-scooter as a privately-owned vehicle it is impossible to obtain tax for an electric scooter. As you have probably noticed, there exists a vicious circle in which e-scooters cannot be used in public because you need tax and insurance, and you cannot obtain tax or insurance due to the failure of the government to adequately regulate them like they have already been regulated internationally.
You might wonder at this stage has there been progress with e-scooter legislation in Ireland?
The “Road Traffic (Amendment) (Use of Electric Scooters) Bill 2019” aimed to introduce terms and definitions to make electric scooters legal in Ireland. Firstly, the bill proposed to update the definition of mechanically propelled vehicles with an exclusion that meant e-scooters weren’t classified as mechanically propelled vehicles. This would mean that electric scooters would be treated similarly to bicycles and wouldn’t require insurance or a licence to be used in public places. The amendment also sought to introduce speed limits of 25km/h, speed limitation devices, and the requirement for the user to wear a helmet at all times while riding electric scooters in public places. The Bill sought to make it an offence to ride an electric scooter without reasonable care for others, which is already an offence for bicycle users. There were three debates in the Dail which were dated the 25th of September 2019, 16th of October 2019 and 17th of October 2019. Unfortunately the debates were poorly attended and the Bill itself lapsed with the dissolution of the Dail at the beginning of 2020. You can obtain further information about the above here.
Fast forward to 2021 and electric scooter use is increasing exponentially in Ireland. E-scooters are becoming more publicised in the media and have been discussed on RTE News and other media outlets (check out our interview with RTE here). Electric scooters were a highly sought after gift at Christmas and are talked about frequently in online forums and social media. Other countries in Europe and further abroad have legalised them for use in public and our neighbours in the UK are testing out ride sharing schemes in selected towns and cities. The current government has committed to implementing regulations for electric scooters under its current term which would be similar if not identical to those regulations mooted in 2019. Regardless of your view on whether electric scooters are safe for use on the roads, we should embrace the regulation of electric scooters, to allow for them to be used safely and so that information can be provided to inform users on the dangers of use on public roads and how best to behave while riding an e-scooter on a road shared with other vehicles.
Here at LOCO Scooters we welcome regulation of electric scooters. We want to be forerunners for promoting education on the safe use of electric scooters and to see their benefits realised in a safe way. Electric scooters if used safely and responsibly can be the solution to a lot of overcomplicated commutes to work and a fun way to socialise outdoors. From customer feedback we know that our customers get great use out of their electric scooters and in some cases they can change the quality of their life greatly.
If you have any questions on the above please reach out to us through our contact form. Check out our site for more articles on e-scooters and take a look at our range of products and our electric scooter repair articles. Please feel free to like and share our articles on social media!