Estonia's top court: Fast, powerful electric scooters require driving license

  • 2023-05-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – In a decision published on Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Estonia said that faster and more powerful two-wheeled electric vehicles are motor vehicles within the meaning of the law, which require a driving license to be driven on the road and must also be registered in the motor register.

The dispute that ended up in court started when a man drove an Ultron, an electric scooter-like vehicle with a maximum design speed of 95 kilometers per hour shown by the manufacturer and an engine power of six kilowatts, in Tallinn on Oct. 2 last year. The speed of the vehicle at the time was around 40-50 kmh. The driver did not have a driving license and the vehicle was not registered, so the police fined him 500 euros.

The county court canceled the fine, finding, unlike the police, that the Ultron is not a motorcycle. According to the first tier court, Ultron is not a motor vehicle, but a non-compliant personal light electric vehicle, prohibited in traffic.

The Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court overturned the county court's verdict and enforced the penalty imposed by the police. The top court  explained that the Ultron is a motor vehicle, meaning that a driver's license is required from its driver.

According to law, a motor vehicle is a power-driven vehicle, except for an engine-powered vehicle designated for use solely by a person with reduced mobility, a cycle, a personal light electric vehicle, a light moped, a self-driving delivery robot, an off-road vehicle, a tram and a vehicle with a design speed of no more than six kmh. Meanwhile, a vehicle whose design speed is over 25 kmh or whose engine is more powerful than one kilowatt cannot be considered a personal light electric vehicle. The power limit does not apply only to self-balancing vehicles.

The Supreme Court noted that since the Ultron is faster and more powerful than the limits set forth in the law, it is not a personal light electric vehicle, but a motor vehicle. Therefore, the driver needs a motor vehicle driving license to drive, and the vehicle should also have been registered.