Thu, Feb 23, 2023
Read in 4 minutes
E-scooters get plenty of good and (mainly) bad press in Dublin. Many people worry that they are a danger to pedestrians or to the users themselves. But they are continuing to grow in popularity and as a fast, cheap and (somewhat) sustainable way to get around the city, they have a role to play in the future of Dublin's transport. Here I've tried to address some of the questions and concerns I frequently hear about them and what the Government and Council can/should do next.
E-scooters are by no means a silver bullet for sustainable transport in Dublin. They offer several advantages but also have many limitations. So it is important to look at their potential in the context of the wider changes that we need to see for Dublin’s transport system to work efficiently - much better public transport including buses, trains, metros, trams etc. and a network of segregated bike lanes to accommodate all forms of micro-mobility (e.g. bikes, trikes, e-scooters, electric wheelchairs).
There is legislation coming through the Oireachtas to regulate for e-scooters. Up until now, despite being common on our streets they have not been covered by any existing legislation and therefore very difficult to impose proper rules or conditions on. The legislation is expected to be in place in the Spring of 2023 to allow the Minister to set rules for their use including, age limits (expected to be 16), speed limit (expected to be 20kph), wheel size for safety reasons, battery type for environmental reasons, and importantly banning them from footpaths for pedestrian safety.
Dublin City Council, in collaboration with the other Dublin local authorities, is expected to introduce a scooter sharing scheme, similar to the Bleeper or Moby bikes that are widespread around the city at the moment. One of the major concerns about introducing this kind of scheme is ensuring there is a safe, and enforced, system for parking e-scooters. Other European cities such as Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen introduced very liberal e-scooter schemes originally with little or no rules around parking. The result of this was scooters lying across footpaths and creating a trip hazard, most especially for those with added physical vulnerabilities or vision impairment. In Dublin, I am very keen that we avoid this by having strict conditions around parking. Many e-scooter companies have impressive technology to ensure that scooters cannot be used or parked on footpaths and I hope that this will be a key requirement of any scheme in the city. The details of any e-scooter sharing scheme will be discussed more widely once the legislation is in place.
If you made it this far in this piece and still want to know more about the topic, then you can listen back to a recent debate (21/02/2023) that I participated in on Today with Claire Byrne on the issues that e-scooters present. https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/clips/22215848/. As always, if you have any other questions or concerns, get in touch!