The Government has moved to legislate to allow for the legal use of e-scooters and e-bikes in public places in Ireland.
The use of electric or e-scooters on public roads is currently illegal in the Republic, as they are classified as "mechanically propelled vehicles" subject to controls such as road tax and insurance, which are currently impossible to obtain for the transport devices.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan announced on the Monday that the Government has approved a move to draft legislation which will allow for the regulation of the vehicles in the forthcoming Road Traffic Bill.
Under the Bill, Minister Ryan is proposing to create a new vehicle category which will be known as “powered personal transporters” (PPTs), which will include e-scooters and similar devices.
E-scooters have become an increasingly popular form of personal mobility
The proposed legislation will allow e-scooters to be legally used in a public place, and will also address standards they must meet regarding safety. The legislation will specify regulations as to how and where PPTs may be used.
Tax, insurance and driving licences will not be required for the vehicles.
“E-scooters have become an increasingly popular form of personal mobility in a short period of time,” Minister Ryan said.
“I am implementing the commitment in the Programme for Government to regulate their use by including amendments in the upcoming Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, so that they can be used in a safe manner.”
The Bill will also see new regulations for e-bikes, which are currently not classed as “mechanically propelled vehicles” or pedal bicycles under Irish law.
The Department of Transport said e-bikes will now be legislated for using EU standards as a reference point and will be treated mainly in the same way as pedal cycles, while more powerful models will be treated as light mopeds.
Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said the drafting of legislation to regulate the mobility devices was “a matter of priority”.
“The benefits of these provisions include providing a legislative framework for the use of e-scooters and e-bikes on a more widespread basis whilst also ensuring and improving safety for all road users,” she said.