Ashbourne councillor Joe Bonner has hit out at the lack of regulation surrounding the use of E scooters following an incident in the town last week.
He told Meath Live, ‘A woman was struck by one on the pavement outside the Bank Of Ireland last Wednesday, she was flung in the air and sustained bruising to her thigh, face and side.
‘The scooter was been driven by a female and she wasn’t inclined to stop until eyewitnesses made sure she did so.
‘The problem I have is there appears to be little or no regulation in this area, I mean do the owners even have to have a licence, is there a speed limit, can they use cycle lanes, do they need helmets, nobody seems to know.
‘I was driving along the other day at around 35mph and one of these scooters was keeping pace with me, anyone who was hit by something moving at that speed would get a fair old belt and you can’t even hear them coming.
‘It is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.’
A Garda spokesperson said, ‘Gardaí attended a single-vehicle road traffic collision (rtc) on Frederick Street, Ashbourne shortly before noon Wednesday 2nd February 2022. An electric bike is understood to have collided with a female pedestrian in her 70s. The pedestrian was taken to James Connolly Hospital as a precaution.
‘The Road Traffic Act 1961 defines a mechanically propelled vehicle as a vehicle intended or adapted for propulsion by mechanical means, including a bicycle or tricycle with an attachment for propelling it by mechanical power, whether or not the attachment is being used. It also includes a vehicle the means of propulsion of which is electrical, or partly electrical and partly mechanical. Whether or not a vehicle requires a push-start is legally irrelevant.
‘E-scooters and powered skateboards fall into this category and are therefore considered to be mechanically propelled vehicles. Any users of such vehicles in a public place (as defined in the Road Traffic Act 1961) must have insurance, road tax and a driving licence, with penalties under road traffic laws (including fixed charge notices, penalty points, fines and possible seizure of the vehicle) for not being in compliance with these requirements.
‘As it is currently not possible to tax or insure E-scooters or electric skateboards, they are not considered suitable for use in a public place. There is no anomaly within the law.
‘The Minister has requested the Road Safety Authority to research how E-scooters and other such vehicles are regulated in other countries, particularly other the Member States. The goal is to understand the road safety implications of the use of such vehicles on public roads, especially when interacting with other vehicles.
‘The Minister will make a decision on whether or not to amend existing legislation when he has received and considered the outcome of the Authority’s research, which is imminent. The Minister would need to be satisfied that permitting such vehicles on our roads will not give rise to safety concerns, whether for the users of such machines or for other road users including cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.’