New e-scooter rules will deter users, Bicycle Advocacy Group says

The bicycle lobby group said that the government's high-level regulation of e-scooters was a missed opportunity at instilling a mentality in young motorists that one could be independent from car use 

The government has proposed that e-scooter users be in possession of a driving license amongst other things
The government has proposed that e-scooter users be in possession of a driving license amongst other things

The new e-scooter rules proposed by the government will further impede a mass adoption of sustainable transportation in Malta, the Bicycle Advocacy Group said. 

Amongst the proposed regulations, e-scooter users will now require a driving license and an insurance policy. The proposals will be subjected to a period of public consultation.

READ ALSO: Scooter drivers will require driving license, insurance under proposed regulations

READ ALSO: Proposed scooter regulations 'over the top and downright silly', AD says

BAG have now joined green party Alternattiva Demokratika in slamming the proposals, saying in a statement on Tuesday that such excessive restrictions will discourage the use of scooters.

"Whilst a level of regulation is welcome the proposed guidelines will serve to discourage the use of such scooters, especially with the high level of restrictions being imposed. One can note that fines to non-adherence are far greater than offences committed by car drivers, such as driving whilst using a mobile phone," BAG said.

The bicycle lobby group compared registration and license fees proposed for e-scooters with existing motorcycle fees and have said that, though nominal, the fees for the former are higher than those required for a motorcycle with a 125cc engine. 

"Other restrictions on certain roads will also make it impossible for users of such e-kickscooters to arrive at their destination... the list of roads which have been marked as no-go zones for e-kickscooters will mean that it would be impossible for many commuters to make use of such a mode of transport, given that there are no feasible alternatives.

"Such regulations strongly suggest that the authorities are regarding these e-kickscooters as ‘toys’ to be used for leisure purposes, rather than as a form of mobility. This also fails to promote micromobility with the younger generation, since those under 18 are not allowed to make use of these e-kickscooters," BAG said.

The group said that such a scenario was a lost opportunity to create a mentality amongst young would-be drivers of independence from cars. 

BAG questioned what the real intentions of the Transport Ministry are as regards to micromobility in Malta and how it adheres to its current policy of sustainable transport and mission, as often publicised on billboards, of creating roads for all users.

BAG urged the public to submit their feedback about these guidelines during the consultation period. It will itself submit alternative proposals so as it can submit its suggestions to the Sustainable Mobility Unit at Transport Malta.

More in National