15 Nov 2021 |
The Scooter Bill: With a helmet, insurance and 15km limit
A bill regulating electric scooters has been approved by the Council of Ministers with the purpose of sending same to Parliament shortly afterwards.
Mr Carousos, Minister of Transport, Communications and Works mentioned that this bill is the result of consultations with the municipalities, companies that engage in the business of renting scooters, the police and the general public. It is important to note that there are basic parameters and restrictions as regards to the circulation of Personal Mobility Devices (scooters).
Areas of movement: bike paths, bike lanes or in an area that is an extension of a bike path. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that scooters can move in a town square or use pavements, only after a decision to such extent is taken by the relevant municipality or community.
>> User’s age: sixteen years or older.
>> Means for individual protection of the users: obligatory use of helmet
>> Insurance coverage: compulsory third-party insurance coverage (whether scooter is rented or privately owned)
>> Minimum device equipment requirements: brake system, warning lights front and back, bell, tyres
Maximum speed of the Personal Mobility Device: The maximum speed that it can develop is 15km per hour. With the implementation of this legislation, the consumers should be very cautious when using this device in a public area.
The Minister of Transport, Communication and Works stated that this bill regulates the purchase or rent of electronic scooters as the importers, manufacturers and sellers should bring the scooter for inspection to an engineer in relation to the requirements minimum equipment and maximum speed that it should be able to develop.
Mr Carousos clarified that during the preparation of the bill, good practices of other Member States of the European Union were adopted, and emphasis was given on the provisions which ensure high levels of road safety.
It was also stated that this bill determines the interpretation of the Personal Mobility Device, the fact that registration is not required and the appropriate minimum equipment of such Devices. What is more, it settles the movement framework which contains specific settings for the rented Personal Mobility Devices and the general rules of road traffic. Furthermore, this bill covers obligations for people who build, assemble, import, sell and rent such Devices. Finally, offences and related penalties are considered.
Moreover, the Bill shall provide that the companies which rent out scooters will need to obtain a license for the rental of the scooter, either by the municipality or by the relevant community after meeting specific requirements for such license.
At the same time, this bill applies the rules for movement of the Personal Mobility Devices in the same way as they apply for other means of transport.
With the enactment of this legislation, Cyprus will be one of the first few countries within the European Union which will succeed to regulate scooters.
There were many discussions regarding the maximum speed of Personal Mobility Devices. There were many views expressed that scooters should be able to “operate” with speeds up to 25km per hour, but the overarching opinion was that scooter movement should be considered similar to bicycle movement. Driving a scooter within a road is illegal and the fact that people will require an insurance coverage to drive this device, will help ensure protection of pedestrians and others from harm that may be caused.
Members of the Parliament mentioned the need to regulate the circulation of these scooters in order to avoid accidents. Mrs Tsiridou stated that regulation in relation to the movement of Personal Mobility Devices is needed, considering various parameters which are based on road safety, mobility, urban planning, traffic, and other data. She also mentioned that emphasis will be given to tourist areas and thus it is necessary for the Republic of Cyprus to promote the Law on scooters.
It is also worth noting that in Cyprus there was only one reported death relating to use of an electronic scooter when a woman in Limassol was hit by a vehicle and passed away due to the violent fall from the scooter.
The ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, has put road safety at the forefront of this effort and has prepared three Legislations as follows:
1) Bill for regulating the movement of bicycles and other Personal Mobility Devices (amends the Law for the movement of bicycles)
2) Regulations on Motor Vehicles and Traffic (procedural issues related to helmet specifications).
3) Bill for the Extrajudicial Regulation of Offences Law (for regulating extrajudicial offences of the main legislation). These provide, amongst others, the following:
Fines of 85 euros will be imposed:
>> When the person using the scooter is between 14-16 years old.
>> To the owner of the scooter, the parent or the person who has the parental responsibility of a child under the age of 16 who fails to take all necessary measures to prevent the use of scooter by the child.
>> When a person uses the scooter on a motorway, expressway or to an unauthorised traffic area or on a public roadway, except in the case of a road junction joining permitted traffic areas.
>> When a person uses a scooter and develops a speed of more than 15km per hour or the helmet he/she wears is not properly fastened.
>> When the person using the scooter fails to comply with the indications of traffic lights that regulate the traffic of vehicles, motor-powered or not.
Fines of 50 euros will be imposed:
>> When a person uses the scooter outside of the designated traffic lane and does not comply with the signals and instructions of the police officer or the person who regulates the traffic for a pedestrian crossing outside a school.
>> When the person using the scooter does not give priority to the pedestrian
>> When the person using the scooter carries any person as a passenger
>> When a person stops or abandons his/her scooter on a bike lane, bike path, or roadway impeding free movement.
>> When a person uses the scooter to tow an object or when the scooter is towed by any other vehicle.
>> When a person uses the scooter, and scooter route lights are non-functional.
Moreover, it is important to note that a fine of 85 euros will be imposed to drivers of motor vehicles of any category and of any type or size when they fail to take protective measures towards scooter users.
Buggies – changes in the legislation
The Ministry of Transport is thinking of taking further legislative measures for buggy-vehicle drivers after the recent multiple accidents that occurred.
Mr Carousos stated that a meeting will take place with the Police to discuss this issue and propose measures that can be taken to protect drivers. One suggestion is that the passengers of a buggy should wear special equipment which will be provided by the person who rents out the buggy. In addition, at the same time, anyone shall be able to rent a buggy. Changes might take place for this matter and it is important to also find ways to resolve the issue of unpaid fines imposed to tourists due to the fact they leave the country without paying these.