[WATCH] Scooter drivers will require driving license, insurance under proposed regulations

The government has published proposed regulations for micro-vehicles, including electric scooters, for public consultation

Scooter drivers will need to have a driving license and insurance
Scooter drivers will need to have a driving license and insurance

A public consultation has been launched on the regulation of micro-vehicles like skateboards and scooters.

The number of electric scooters on Maltese roads has been steadily increasing in recent months, however their use is currently not specifically regulated by any specific regulation.

Electric scooters have become a popular mode of transport in many cities across the world, with scooter sharing companies offering short-term rentals for commuters looking to travel short distances.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Transport Minister Ian Borg stressed that vehicles, in whatever form, that could reach speeds of up to 40km/hr, needed to be regulated.

“When you have a vehicle that can go up to these speeds, it’s important to have it supplied with headlights and taillights. The Transport Malta document looks at security. I cannot understand how anyone going at 40km/hr can expect not to be equipped with basics like lights, for example,” Borg said.

The document lists the government’s proposals for regulating micro-vehicles like electric scooters.

Under the proposed regulations, drivers of electric scooters will require a driver’s license and will need to be insured, both if the scooter is owned individually or part of sharing scheme.

There will also be a one-time registration fee for scooters, set at €11.65, and an annual license fee of €25.

Scooters must also be equipped with headlights and taillights, with a maximum speed at 10km/hr in pedestrian areas and 20km/hr on other roads. Scooters will not be permitted under tunnels, underpasses or arterial roads and may only be used on roads designated as cycle routes by the government.

Borg noted that the need for regulations was all the more necessary, given that some companies had already started operating sharing schemes.

“As a country with so many mobility challenges due to the limited space, as well as limited alternatives, we cannot afford to ban innovative means of transport, that are also cheaper and pollute less,” Borg said.

This, he said, meant that there needed to be clear rules in order to clamp down on abuse. Borg added that the government did not want to see a single operator enjoying a monopoly over the mode of transport, but hoped to have competitive operators all around the country.

“As a government, we keep incentivising people to do away with their private cars. 30,000 students between the age of 14 and 20 are already getting free public transport and the number of people using the ferry system keeps increasing as well,” he said.

Electric scooters are still a relatively new addition to roads in Europe but certain EU member states have already started regulating them. In Lisbon, which hosts the largest fleet of e-scooters in Europe, at around 3,500 scooters, operators are not required to have a permit to operate the e-scooter service but must share data with city hall. Drivers must also be insured.

London is currently operating a pilot scheme to decide the way forward in regulating the micro-vehicles.

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