Calls for greater safety for e-scooters

calls for greater safety for e-scooters

For some, they represent modern mobility, while others warn of chaos and the risk of accidents: electric scooters have been on the road in germany for a year now.

At the first anniversary, the small hazards have developed primarily into a rough urban phenomenon – they have not yet triggered a broad change in traffic patterns. Safety is still an acute issue. The cities are calling for further regulations in this area. Compulsory helmet use and a remedy for wobbly turns also remain under discussion.

The municipalities are mainly concerned about additional possibilities for the protection of pedestrians. "For particularly busy places, such as in front of historical landmarks and in squares with lots of people, the power of scooters must be limited to walking speed," the chief executive of the german city council, helmut dedy, told the german press agency. The elderly and children had to be able to move around without fear. Without a speed restriction, e-scooters had no place in pedestrian zones, either.

In addition, a new traffic sign "electric micro-vehicles prohibited" must be introduced so that city authorities can clearly exclude their use in sensitive areas. "Today, e-scooters can only be dispensed with voluntarily in the vicinity of the munich oktoberfest, for example," explained dedy. The federal government should therefore take advantage of a new amendment to the road traffic regulations announced for the end of the year to make these additional approvals for e-treadooters possible.

This monday it will be one year since the so-called e-scooters were approved for road traffic. One of the most important. June 2019 regulation sets technical requirements and rules of conduct. The scooters were allowed to travel between 6 and 20 kilometers per hour. Cycling must take place on cycle paths – there are none, on the roadway. Federal transport minister andreas scheuer (CSU) promoted a "genuine additional alternative to the car" for the "last mile" from home to the train station or from the bus to the office.

"A year ago, there was a lot of hype about e-tread scooters. Many people wanted to try them out," said dedy. However, the start was also "somewhat chaotic", as rules first had to be clarified with rental providers. Because disorderly parking of the scooters somewhere at the edge of the road, on burgersteigen or bursts initially caused "frustration and trouble". This has often been eliminated.

The tuv association also sees a need to catch up in terms of safety, even though everyone has now reached a "steep learning curve": users, lenders, police, authorities. E-scooters had established themselves as an additional option in many cities, said managing director joachim buhler. But time and again there are accidents, sometimes with serious injuries. The association is therefore in favor of mandatory helmet use – helmets are officially recommended. It would also make sense to make a brake light on the rear and turn signals mandatory. Single-handed driving to indicate direction changes is not practical, as most e-scooters lurch easily.

The ministry plans to present a first interim report on road safety by the end of the year. It remains to be seen what role these hazards can play in mobility. "They are broadening the traffic mix in cities," said dedy. In the necessary traffic turnaround towards less emissions and noise, they are not in the center of attention. "But they can also contribute a little."From the point of view of the tuv association, e-scooters are a sensible complement to cars, bicycles, buses and trains. However, the new means of transport has not yet been able to meet the high expectations as part of the mobility revolution.

Just getting an overview of the fleet is difficult. In the meantime, the federal motor transport authority has issued 96 general operating permits for e-scooter models. However, there are no official figures on the number of individual examples, despite the obligation to insure them. Rental scooters are available in several cities. According to its own information, the provider lime rents out a total of 25,000 scooters in twelve german cities. Voi is also present in twelve cities and reports a slowly increasing level of acceptance. Rival tier is active in 38 cities and spurs the roughest demand weekday mornings, lunchtimes, and after-work hours. The provider bird serves 16 cities.

The corona weeks with their restrictions were not a good time for the rental companies. Lime and voi, for example, paused their service from about the middle of march. Animal scooters still existed, but the company reported a sharp drop in sales. The bicycle club ADFC noted: "corona has changed the picture: e-scooters are clearly decimated, but there are significantly more people riding bicycles."Good cycle paths are still too few, however.

Since last year, the vehicles with the official designation "electric miniature vehicles" also have a federal association. The government is calling for e-scooters to be treated the same as bicycles – they will be given their own green arrow at traffic lights, which will allow them to turn right even when the light is red. It’s a "prank" that this doesn’t apply to e-scooters, says vice president ramòn goeden.

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