New amendments attempt to regulate electric scooter traffic in Latvia

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The Transport Ministry has drafted amendments to the Road Traffic Law, which include a definition for electric scooters and where it would be allowed to ride them, according to Latvian Radio on December 25.

The amendments won't significantly restrict electric scooter use. The proposed changes define electric scooters as a form of transport, which doesn't have pedals, is meant for one person and has a steering wheel or handlebars.

The scooters won't be allowed to exceed 25mph or be driven on streets, only on the sidewalk, bike lanes and in parks. 14 will be the minimum age for drivers, who will also be required to have a cyclist license.

Transport Ministry Motor Traffic Department Director Tālivaldis Vecirtrāns explained that electric scooters must have front and rear lights, and control tools such as a speedometer or various speeds.

“It's a controllable and simple transport vehicle; even if there is a collision, there won't be huge consequences,” said Vecitrāns.

Electric scooter drivers are increasingly involved in traffic accident statistics. This year in 10 months the State Police recorded 53 accidents involving electric scooters, where 35 people were injured and two died. It's estimated that around 1500 electric scooters are used in Rīga, and use of the scooters is not regulated under current law.

The director of the NGO “Pilsēta cilvēkiem” (City for People) Māris Jonovs criticized the amendments for being too narrow - they don't include other similar forms of transport such as electric skateboards and regular scooters. In France the law applies to all personal electric forms of transport.

“So the law applies to all of them. Whereas the Transport Ministry offers an extremely narrow definition!” said Jonovs.

Debates around the amendments will continue, with the hopes of adopting them by April.

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