Tighter rules planned for electric scooters in Latvia

In order to use an electric scooter, the rider will have to have a license for some type of vehicle, including a bicycle, according to the changes to the Road Traffic Law and regulations developed and presented by the Transport Ministry June 13.

It is also planned to increase penalties if the driver of the electric scooter breaches the rules by transporting passengers or cargo, if they use smart devices while driving, for non-compliance with traffic lights, non-respect for distance, and drunk-driving.

At a media presentation, Transport Minister Jānis Vitenbergs said: "If last year in the first five months of the year, 64 people were injured in traffic accidents involving electric scooters, then this year the number exceeds 90. The summer season has begun and it is natural that electric scooters will increasingly fill the city streets, creating dangerous situations both for themselves and for other road users and for pedestrians."

Renāte Snipe, chief physician of the University Children's Clinical Hospital (BKUS) stressed the danger of electric scooters when ridden by minors, and the importance of wearing a helmet for all riders.

"Electric scooters are the cause of serious and even irreversible consequences for physical health, about which we have been raising the alarm for a long time at the Children's Hospital. We are glad that we were heard and not only are there changes in the law that will control the safe use of electric scooters, but also a [road safety] campaign will be launched soon," said Snipe.

Injuries to electric scooter riders (Jan-May, 2017-2023)
Injuries to electric scooter riders (Jan-May, 2017-2023)

Official statistics published June 13 suggest that injuries involving electric scooters have been steadily rising for several years as they become an ever-more-popular sight on Latvian streets.

The amendments also provide that local governments will be entitled to define exclusion zones where the scooter cannot be parked, and the traffic of these vehicles will be monitored not only by the State but also by local government police.

The Transport Ministry also intends to provide that only registered electrical scooter with a specially issued number plate will be allowed to participate in traffic.

In parallel, it is actively working on changes to the Road Traffic Regulations in order to bring into force the rule in the near future, which requires all electrical scooter drivers to wear helmets, the Ministry said.

The changes are scheduled to be approved by the end of summer.

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