The Malta Independent 17 August 2022, Wednesday

TMID Editorial: The e-scooter nightmare

Friday, 24 June 2022, 07:57 Last update: about 3 months ago

We have been told that the police and wardens issued 4,702 fines related to e-scooters in 2021.

One third of the contraventions, 1,491, were for causing an obstruction of inconvenience to the public, another 1,291 were for parking on the pavement, while another 724 were issued for obstructing free passage. There were 646 fines for parking on a yellow line while 84 were booked for riding the scooter on footpath or a promenade.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is not a surprise that nearly half if the fines were issued in Sliema and St Julian’s. This is where they are used the most.

Are they too little? Or are they too many?

We do not know. What is sure is that, every day that passes, these e-scooters are becoming more of a nuisance to drivers and pedestrians and, worse, more of a danger.

Let’s start with the nuisance.

They are left on pavements, blocking access to pedestrians, in particular to people with mobility problems and mothers/fathers with pushchairs. We have seen some of these literally risk stepping onto the road as cars are driven by to be able to manoeuvre around these scooters and proceed with their journey.

They are left parked right next to cars, making it impossible for the driver to leave unless these e-scooters are lifted out of the way. They are also parked in front of garages and doorsteps, again blocking access.

Another nuisance is that more often than not drivers cannot overtake them in the narrower roads, the single lane stretches, or the one-way streets where there are cars parked on one side of the road. This inevitably slows down traffic – and causes congestion.

Then there is the danger they cause, to the riders but also to other road users.

How many times have we seen riders zigzagging along the carriageway? How many times have we seen them riding against the traffic? How many times have we seen them not stopping at red lights or turning a corner into a main road without looking? How many times have we seen riders on scooters with headphones in their ears, oblivious to what is happening around them?

From the information given in Parliament, it does not look like the police and wardens have booked too many riders for causing a danger – and yet, apart from fining them for obstruction, these riders should also be booked for not obeying the most basic traffic rules. Many of them do not, and since e-scooters have no licence plate, wardens and police officers are limited in the action then can take.

They have become a nightmare, and an unregulated one at that. For one thing, why aren’t riders obliged to wear a helmet to protect themselves as motorcyclists do? Are we going to wait for the first fatality to do something about it?

 

  • don't miss