The Malta Independent 17 February 2020, Monday

Godfrey and Marlene Farrugia file Parliamentary motion to revise electric scooter law

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 20 January 2020, 07:57 Last update: about 28 days ago

Independent MPs Godfrey and Marlene Farrugia have filed a Parliamentary motion asking the House of Representatives to revise the legal notice governing electric scooters issued last December, due to a number of issues it creates

The legal notice had brought with it a number of issues that could restrict the use of this particular alternative transport method, including through the fines and penalties that have to be imposed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Making reference to a legal notice that was issued regarding Micromobility Regulations in December 2019, the MPs argued that the scope behind the regulations is good as it looks at the safety of people on the road, the environment and at enhancing social inclusion. They said that electric scooters (or e-kickscooters) offer another solution and alternative to personal mobility that is easier to use than a bicycle or a pedelec, and that will continue to help tackle the challenge the country faces due to the added stress and time-wasting caused by congestion and traffic intensity. They argued that this is a method of transport that needs to be encouraged.

However, they indicated that the notice creates a number of issues.

The MPs said that they agree that fines and penalties need to be imposed as a deterrent for every abuse, but added that these imposed fines and penalties themselves should never be a deterrent to the use of this this mode of transport, that is so popular in certain EU cities.

The two MPs said that the fines and penalties are more for, or disproportionate to e-kickscooters when comparing the characteristics of this mode of transport to cars. “This is why we are asking for there to be a more fair and just balance.”

The MPs highlighted some of the fines and penalties mentioned in the legislation. A registration contravention of an e-kickscooter for being without trial run plates is €500, they said, while adding that for a car it is between €25 to €60.

They also said that the contravention for driving without a licence is the same as a car, in addition to a person also possibly being disqualified from driving. “In the case of cars this only counts if the person is driving recklessly or is a danger to others,” the motion read.

The contravention for not having an insurance policy is the same for those driving cars, they said, “going above €2,000 up to €4,600. Figures like this make one believe that it does not really encourage the use of alternative transport.”

The MPs said in their motion that there is no fine stipulated for when the person on an e-kickscooter does not give right of way to people walking in a pedestrian zone, or cyclists on bicycle lanes.

Among the other issues highlighted by the MPs, was that of the driving age. The MPs said that people must be 16-years-old to ride an escooter, but that the age when one can obtain a driving licence is 18. “Similair modes of 250W transport do not need a licence.” The legislation states that “no person shall drive or permit any other person to drive an e-kickscooter on the road in Malta unless that person – is in possession of a valid driving licence  (Category A,  AM  or  B)  issued  in  conformity  with  the  Motor  Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations.”

The MPs also noted that there are many main roads that do not offer adequate lanes for the use of e-kickscooter and as such cannot be used.  “This will reduce the scope of the use of this form of transport. The Transport Authority must make a greater push to ensure more bicycle lanes and offer a continuous network for their efficient use, while also considering giving access to e-kickscooter in localities where one needs to travel on a main road to get from one side to another.”

The MPs also said that there is also the need for more education on the highway code, and the enforcement of road regulations for all drivers of all vehicles on the road.

  • don't miss