Electric scooters continue to gain popularity as a cheap alternative to public transport and a way to reduce car use.
However, road safety groups have highlighted the dangers they represent on public roads and pedestrian areas.
Legislation to regulate the safe use of electric scooters is to be introduced, with international rental companies competing to set up shared programs.
They are cost effective, environmentally friendly and here to stay.
Service operators vie to enter cities like Galway, and today at Eamonn Deacy Park, these electric scooters showcased technological solutions to prevent riding on trails and other dangerous behavior.
“Ireland is one of the last companies in Europe to legislate on electric scooters and we have learned a lot from other jurisdictions about operating shared systems safely in Ireland,” said Jean Andrews, policy director at the Superpedestrian service operator.
“At first there were challenges, but now we have geofencing technology to prevent what is called pavement clutter and we have sensors to detect sidewalk driving which will turn the scooter off.” , she said.
Under the new legislation, electric scooters will be categorized as personal motorized transporters, allowing them to be used in public places without a driver’s license, tax or insurance.
Essentially, they will be treated like a pedal bicycle.
Fine Gael TD Ciaran Cannon is an avid long-distance cyclist who was seriously injured in a road collision over the summer.
Mr Cannon is passionate about road safety and said the new technology will help ensure electric scooters are safely integrated in cities across the country.
It particularly welcomes them to Galway, which has one of the most congested cities in the country.
“It is very important to have a regulatory environment and a shared electric scooter system similar to those used in many other cities around the world and I look forward to the new legislation being put in place shortly,” Mr. Cannon said.
However, Galway Mayor Colette Connolly is opposed to electric scooters in cycle lanes.
“It’s not something that I would be favorable to as a pedestrian and as a cyclist myself,” she said.
“I think they would pose a danger because the two vehicles are not traveling at the same speed, so that would be my concern. With legislation looming, I just wonder if the government intends to use the space. road and share that space with a car and an electric scooter and how that might work.
“Or are they considering using bus lanes and cycle lanes. I don’t think the cycle lanes – of which there are few in Galway – would do. Most of the cycle lanes here in the city are not suitable. electric scooters, ”she added.
Pedestrian safety still dominates the e-scooter debate, especially for vulnerable seniors like Sally and Pat Carty, who encounter them on a daily ride.
Pat is not opposed to them, however, he said he would like to know if they have insurance coverage.
“I think they are dangerous on the sidewalk when people are walking. Even a bicycle is dangerous on the sidewalk as far as I can see, but there is nothing to be done,” he said.
A number of security measures proposed in the new bill include:
· A minimum age of use of 16 years;
· Helmets compulsory for 16-18 year olds;
· An upper speed limit of 25km / h; and
· A ban on use on sidewalks.
Jakub Kostanski has a personal electric scooter to get around town
“They are very safe. I have three different settings – 10 km per hour, 15 km per hour and the fastest I can go is 25 km per hour.
“I usually go on the trail because the roads are not too safe at the moment. I have lights and my helmet and I am very careful. There is however legislation to come and this is the most important”, did he declare.
Jakub easily understands the vulnerability of older pedestrians.
“When I’m on the road or on the trail people are always scared, they jump to the side and I understand why because they see a fast vehicle approaching them on two wheels and it didn’t look stable, so having the legislation outlining what I’m allowed to do will help everyone, ”he said.