MADRID – E-scooters can no longer be ignored in the streets of Spanish cities. The strongly increased use of them unfortunately also leads to more violations, accidents and other problems.
On Monday, a 14-year-old boy from León was killed after being hit by a car while on his e-scooter. Residents of Paris voted en masse to remove the share step from the streets last weekend. It has not gone that far yet in Spain. Although, there are also voices in Zaragoza to ban e-scooters, according to a large survey by the newspaper Heraldo. In Madrid, Mayor Almeida did respond to the ban in Paris but he does not intend the same. He does, however, argue for an ‘ordered restriction’.
The Spanish traffic service DGT, meanwhile, is trying to regulate the use of e-scooters with road safety as its goal. For example, in 2024 there will be a new type of inspection, ITV (the Spanish equivalent of MOT), for electric scooters. At the moment not much more is known, other than that it will not be mandatory to pass the ITV until next year. Work is already underway on a circulation certificate for the use of personal mobility vehicles (VMPs). A category to which e-scooters also belong.
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With such an inspection, the owner will mainly have to prove the scooter meets the technical requirements prescribed by national and international standards. An e-scooter must also be easier to identify, for example by placing a sign on it.
Specification of technical requirements for e-scooters
The measure was approved in Royal Decree 970/2020, on 10 November. However, it is not yet known exactly what the ‘handbook of technical requirements’ will look like. This specifies the technical requirements that the VMPs must meet. It is known, however, that the Spanish traffic service DGT, also referred to as ‘Tráfico’, is charged with the preparation and publication of this in the short term.
Speed in the spotlight
According to Royal Decree 970/2020, the maximum design speed for this type of transport must be between 6 and 25 km/h, so they are not considered motor vehicles. That seems like a low speed, but any braking problem or malfunction can cause a serious accident. Unfortunately, there are already examples of this. E-scooter drivers are very vulnerable in traffic. Unfavourable weather conditions or unevenness in the road surface can have major consequences. That makes it even more important that the vehicle is in good condition.
Expanded market to ramp up VMPs
Nowadays there are many scooters that do not comply with current European regulations. Moreover, there is also a whole market for VMP modification to increase speed with all the associated risks for road safety. That is why governments consider it necessary to create a system similar to the ITV inspection that is mandatory for motor vehicles. Based on this, it is possible to check the e-scooters that circulate and, if necessary, remove them from traffic.
Objective: fewer accidents
With this measure, the DGT wants to reduce the number of accidents. That number has increased by almost 32% between 2019 and 2020, from 76 to more than 100 accidents with serious injuries and even fatalities. According to a study conducted by Fundación MAPFRE, together with CESVIMAP, 98% of accidents occurred in cities, especially on lanes (66%). 60% were the result of collisions, while 20% were hit by a car. That drivers of e-scooters have to pay attention is shown by the fact that in 19% of the accidents, the e-scooter driver had fallen.
Cars are involved in 66% of these accidents, pedestrians in 11%, vans in 8%, trucks and buses in 7% and finally bicycles in 6%. Furthermore, it mainly involves people between the ages of 16 and 35.
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The use of a helmet on an E-scooter is not (yet) mandatory in Spain. Therefore, many users do not wear it. However, this significantly increases the risk of injury. Moreover, riding without a helmet is one of the major contributors to scooter fatalities.
Click here to see the rules for e-scooters in Spain on the DGT website (in Spanish).