TALLINN – The Tallinn city government believes that regulation concerning the use of electric scooters should be added to the Traffic Act, as at present other street users are not sufficiently protected against this novel means of transit capable of developing high speeds, Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov believes.
"In recent years the Traffic Act has been adapted to both self-balancing vehicles as well as delivery robots. Our concern today is the absence of regulation of electric scooters, which have become a new trend," Novikov said in a letter to the minister of justice.
In accordance with the valid Traffic Act, provisions applicable to pedestrians have to be applied to users of electric scooters. The Traffic Act meanwhile is lacking the legal definition of electric scooter. As a matter of fact, neither the provisions of the Traffic Act applicable to self-balancing vehicles nor those applicable to bicycles apply to electric scooters, meaning that users of electric scooters can use footpaths and pedestrian crossings without observing any requirements.
"The position of the city of Tallinn is that the Traffic Act needs to be changed in such way that restrictions similar to those valid for drivers of self-balancing vehicles are imposed on the use of electric scooters. A change like this would enable to ensure the safety of pedestrians on sidewalks," Novikov said.
"There have been accidents already involving people moving by foot and on an electric scooter, the consequences of which allow to conclude that a considerable threat emanates from people moving on electric scooters," the deputy mayor said.
The proposal of the city of Tallinn is to make electric scooters equal to non-motorized scooters in the Traffic Act and limit their maximum speed to 20 kilometers per hour. Electric scooters would be equal to self-balancing vehicles in the meaning of the Traffic Act. In addition, the requirement for users under 16 years of age to wear a helmet would be applied also to users of electric scooters.
An amendment like this would introduce a ban for users of scooters and electric scooters to jeopardize or hinder pedestrians while riding on sidewalks, footpaths and cycle and pedestrian tracks and would oblige them to ride at the normal speed of pedestrians in their close proximity.