A new report, published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and the UK Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), has set out recommended safer technical standards for e-scooters and their usage in Europe.
The recommendations include a 20 km/h factory-set speed limit, larger wheels, a ban on passengers and pavement riding, compulsory helmets and a minimum age of 16, independent front and rear brakes, lights, indicators, and an audible warning device.
The report is in response to the rapid growth of e-scooter usage over the last five years, and an associated increase in deaths and serious injuries. It takes into account a wide body of available data, hospital studies, vehicle safety testing and research from across Europe and beyond.
The regulatory picture for e-scooters is currently mixed with considerable variations across Europe in rules on minimum age, maximum power and speed, use of helmets and other aspects. The report authors would like to see common technical standards for e-scooters and recommendations for their use harmonised as far as possible.
While the report itself is limited to technical requirements and rules for riders, ETSC points out that many of its existing recommendations for safety improvements for vulnerable road users, such as 30 km/h speed limits, separated networks of cycle lanes, low traffic zones and higher levels of enforcement, will benefit all road users, including e-scooter users.
“E-scooters are now a common sight in European cities, but sadly so too are seriously injured e-scooter riders in hospitals. To break the link between the increased numbers of these vehicles, and the increased numbers of injuries, we need some sensible measures to keep riders and other road users safe,” says Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council. “E-scooters can play a role in sustainable cities of the future, which must prioritise the safety of vulnerable road users, using modes of transport that are much less risky to other road users than cars, vans and lorries.
“So while we think e-scooters should go at a safe speed, and their riders should wear helmets, it is also the responsibility of cities to put in place the kind of safe road environment, with a network of separate cycle lanes, and appropriate speed limits, that is essential to greater safety for all.”
“We are very pleased to work with ETSC on this report,” says PACTS executive director David Davies. “E-scooters are a new mobility option in cities across Europe. In many countries, regulations are still catching up. PACTS and ETSC have set out the main safety implications for riders and pedestrians and the basic regulations needed for safe use.”