In recent months, the use of an alternative means of transport has increased significantly and e-kickscooters have been added to vehicles and motorcycles. They are environmentally friendly, electrically powered and can also be operated using your feet … but they can often a source of inconvenience such as when they are accidentally left on the sidewalks … or even dangerous because they are driven against the direction of traffic.
A scooter is regulated by law. It must be registered and covered by third party risk insurance. Although wearing a helmet is not mandatory, the person driving it needs a license.
These two people on an e-kickscooter are breaking the law because a scooter can only be used by one person. The same goes for riding inside a tunnel or underpass. Nor can it be driven on arterial or distributor roads. These electric motor powered scooters are designed for short distances.
Regulations that went into effect a year and a half ago provide that an e-kickscooter can be driven on a sidewalk, promenade, bike path and pedestrian zone at a speed not exceeding ten kilometres per hour. On the road, the speed can reach twenty kilometers per hour and should always be driven in the direction of traffic.
An e-kickscooter is not like a bicycle. You can’t simply buy or rent one and drive on the road. Pierre Montebello – Transport Malta official – explained that by law no e-kickscooter can be driven on the road if it is not registered. Just over 1,000 scooters are registered with the Authority most of them belonging to operators.
“While operators are following the regulations – are registering them and seeing that they are insured etc, according to the regulations that we have mentioned, we have observed there are several individuals who do not do this. It is worth noting that when an individual buys an e-kickscooter and uses it on the road , he needs to register it and also cover it by insurance. If they don’t do that it will not be in compliance with the law. ”
Mr Montebello explained that with each registration made, a one-off payment of € 10 is made and a registration number is given which is to be affixed to the scooter. An e-kickscooter can only be driven by people aged 16 and over and must be covered by a third party risk insurance policy. Users must also be licensed.
“If you have a motorbike or car license, that’s enough. You can drive it from the age of sixteen and you have to have what is called an AM license that may have been dormant. To make it easy also all you have to do is the theory test so that we will have peace of mind that this road user knows traffic regulations.
Complaints are often made about scooters being left randomly on sidewalks. Although they can be parked on sidewalks, the law requires that scooters should in no way obstruct access for people.
Since 2018 thirteen people have been injured in an e-kickscooter traffic accident. Six of them were injured this year, half of whom suffered serious injuries.
Fines for anyone caught violating regulations can amount to thousands of euros. These regulations are enforced by the LESA Agency which in the first half of this year issued 725 summonses – many of them due to poor and dangerous parking in Sliema, St. Julian’s, and Ta ‘Xbiex. A spokesperson for LESA said that compared to last year there was a substantial increase also because in recent months the operators of this service have increased. LESA meets with operators frequently to ensure that this means of transport is used in the safest possible way.