Latvia mulls electric scooter regulations

Take note – story published 1 year and 2 months ago

The Paris referendum on banning the rental of electric scooters has brought traffic rules to the fore again in Latvia. People surveyed on the streets don't exactly agree with a ban, while emergency services are alarmed and the high number of accidents related to the use of scooters, Latvian Television reported on April 3.

In preparation for the beginning of the season, Rīga City Council turned to the Saeima two months ago, asking that the municipality have the right to regulate and monitor the use of these vehicles in the city, including imposing speed limits and a traffic rule knowledge check. 

“What is fundamental is that there is no specific regulation that allows us to work more extensively with infringers. We [..] get complaints from the population that these scooters are parked on sidewalks or crossings, interfering with pedestrian movement,” said Toms Sadovskis spokesman of the Rīga Municipal Police.

The people surveyed by LTV are not so categorical.

“Don't think there's a need to ban them. Of course there needs to be some limit of who can use them. There must be a license that cyclists have. I completely agree with this. Certainly no [shouldn't be banned]. It's a quick way to move,” Amanda said.

“I suppose it needs to be sorted. Ban – it's the simplest way. Somehow it needs to be sorted out. There is no regulation for the time being. I think it certainly isn't safe. We've had to encounter it,” Andris said.

“Dangerous, of course [..]. Especially at the pedestrian crossings, where suddenly the scooters fly across. They don't move as slowly as pedestrians. But I haven't had any [other] problems,” Ingars said.

The first statistics of this season are also currently available.

"Unfortunately, this year, a total of 14 road accidents have been recorded with the involvement of an electric scooter. Of these 14, in five cases, there has been a tip-over, in two cases the driver has been intoxicated. There are three collisions, four collisions with pedestrians, one collision with a vehicle and one collision with a cyclist," said Juris Jančevskis, chief of the Transport Safety Board of the State Police.

Emergency teams have also been on call. "At about three o'clock, a call was received in Jelgava to a road accident involving two minors, who had, so to say, run into another road vehicle. Therefore, after medical examinations, it was concluded that the injuries were mild. However, they were brought to the medical treatment facility for further examinations," said Miķelis Puķītis, assistant doctor of the Emergency Medical Service.

The police are calling for increased penalties for infringements, and the Riga City Council and the Ministry of Interior have also made their proposals. There are no results yet.

At present, the maximum speed of electric vehicles of the “Bolt” network is 25 km/h, and speed limits of up to 15 km/h are introduced at most schools and nursery schools as well as in parks and squares.

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