Electric Scooters For The Street: What You Need To Know

Scheuer calls for a tougher approach
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E Electrically operated micro vehicles with a battery that can be recharged at the socket are to play a decisive role in the mobility transition. Especially in city centers, they are considered a sensible alternative to the car. In many places they have been on the road for a long time, in Europe including Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Denmark and Finland. Your advantages: Thanks to their compact size, they can be easily transported in public transport. In addition, because of their electric drive, the so-called last mile can be covered quickly, without great effort and reasonably comfortably. So they network the various modes of transport and, on top of that, drive locally emission-free and noiseless.

Federal Council clears the way

Now Germany is also likely to become the electric scooter country. The Federal Council has approved the “Small Electric Vehicles Ordinance” (eKFV), and since June 15 they have been officially allowed to be used in road traffic. Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) sees such great potential in the companions that he pushed the regulation forward with great personal zeal. 'In this way we are paving the way for the mobility of the future and at the same time ensuring safety on our roads,' says Scheuer.

However, the last point in particular is questionable. There have been numerous accidents with serious injuries since the regulation came into force. The Minister of Transport took this as an opportunity to call on the municipalities to take tough action against drivers of e-scooters if these traffic regulations were disregarded. 'In order to guarantee the protection of the weaker road users at all times, we are dependent on the cooperation of the cities and municipalities,' says a letter to the President of the German Association of Cities, the Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung (SPD), which is available to the Funke media group. The other basic rules of road traffic also apply to small electric vehicles make full use of safe and appropriate use ”. Means: Drivers who take other people with them on their scooter or who are on unauthorized areas such as pedestrian zones or sidewalks should be consistently punished. Above all, the provisions of the catalog of fines should be applied if the drivers of small electric vehicles are intoxicated.

TheThe alcohol limits are the same as for drivers: As a rule, the 0.5-alcohol limit applies; However, novice drivers are not allowed to drink alcohol when using an electric scooter. If scooter drivers cause an accident while under the influence of alcohol, the insurance company can also accept liability for small amounts. The Auto Club Europa (ACE) points out that recourse claims are possible from 0.3 per mil.

These rules are prescribed by the eKFV

In general, the eKF regulation is correct freely designed. For example, there is no compulsory driving license. The only condition is that the vehicles are subject to compulsory insurance (more on this later in the text). Anyone who does not comply with this obligation or drives a vehicle that does not comply with the rules is acting improperly according to Paragraph 24 Paragraph 1 of the Road Traffic Act and can be fined up to 2,000 euros. Anyone who causes an accident can also - like other vehicle drivers - be prosecuted, say lawyers specializing in traffic law. For example, anyone who hits a pedestrian on a sidewalk and injures them can be punished for negligent bodily harm, which can even result in imprisonment. It was originally planned that the drivers of a scooter with a maximum speed of 12 km /h would have to be at least 12 years old. However, a minimum age of 14 years applies to all companions. This was previously only planned for e-scooters with a maximum speed of 20 km /h. E-scooters can and should use the same traffic space as bicycles. So you are allowed on cycle paths and cycle lanes. If these are not available, the road may be used.

No uniform public transport take-along rule

There are currently no uniform rules for taking along in local public transport. The transport companies or associations decide for themselves whether an electric scooter can be taken on the bus or train. Which regulation applies depends primarily on the weight, wheel size and dimensions of the respective scooter. Users of small electric vehicles must first find out what is and what is not allowed in the local public transport system of the respective city or region.

With this sign, sidewalks, pedestrian zones and the like can be released for small electric vehicles.

The subdivision two categories (up to 12 and 20 km /h) have been completely deleted from the regulation. E-scooters with a top speed of less than 12 km /h should share the sidewalk with pedestrians in the original eKFV version. This passage met with criticism from many security experts. Above all, the German Road Safety Council (DVR) and the pedestrian association Fuss e.V. called for sidewalks not to be released for electric scooters. Some transport ministers in the federal states also saw this as a problem. Therefore, Scheuer deleted this permission from the regulation. 'My aim is to enable new forms of transportation in such a way that they do not endanger anyone,' said the Federal Transport Minister, according to spiegel.de Sidewalks are taboo even if the additional sign “Fahrrad frei” allows bicycles; In this case, e-scooters have to use the street. Scooter riders are only allowed to use the sidewalk if the additional symbol shown above this paragraph is attached.

How electric scooters must be insured

In order to be considered a small electric vehicle according to the new regulation E-scooters have a handlebar or handrail. They must also have front, rear and brake lights as well as two independently acting brakes and a bell. This would meet another central DVR requirement. However, helmets are not required. The electric scooter does not have to have indicators either, the direction is indicated by a hand signal, just like when cycling. There are also technical specifications for e-scooters: They can be a maximum of 70 cm wide, 140 cm high and 200 cm long, while the weight must not exceed 55 kilograms. The continuous output may be a maximum of 500 watts, 1,400 watts if 60 percent of the output is used for balancing (gyroscopic systems).

The insurance for small vehicles is based on the regulation for mopeds with displacements of up to 50 cubic centimeters at. However, there is no classic sign, but a sticker that must be renewed after the end of the respective insurance year. As with mopeds, the period starts in March of each year. Which in turn means: If you take out insurance in September, you need a new sticker in March. The insurance can also be taken out by minors within the framework of the pocket money paragraph and costs a little less than a moped insurance. At HUK-Coburg, for example, the tariffs start at 15 euros per year. Instead of offering no-claims discounts as with car liability insurance, the insurers offerrather deductible models. If an electric scooter driver causes an accident, he is not upgraded, but has to pay a previously agreed share of the damage himself.

Not just good experiences with scooter sharing

Yes Before Scheuer's initiative and the positive Federal Council decision, the market for electric scooters grew rapidly. At ever shorter intervals, not only specialized companies and start-ups, but also more and more bicycle and car manufacturers are bringing electric scooters onto the market. Segway is just as involved as Seat, Ford and BMW. The Munich-based car company, which has been working together with its competitor Daimler on modern mobility solutions for some time, has long been working on a sharing model for electric scooters. The means of transport are ideally suited for shared use.

The municipal transport companies have also recognized this. The Association of German Transport Companies is planning loan programs for many German cities similar to those that already exist for bicycles. 'We not only offer a trip by subway, tram or bus from one stop to the other, but we also offer door-to-door mobility,' said association head Ingo Wortmann of the dpa. Most likely, the transport companies will work together with private sharing providers. First, rented electric scooters should cost extra, later they could also be integrated into the local public transport tariff systems of the cities.

Chaos and increasing number of accidents in the USA

In Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne , Munich and other cities are already pushing the first sharing providers onto the market. Reserve, unlock and lock as well as pay via smartphone app: This kind of thing is already available in many cities with bicycles and should soon also be implemented with scooters. But it is important to avoid old mistakes. The rental bike disasters are still present in some cities when they were flooded with cheap bicycles by Asian providers such as Obike, which ultimately more often lay broken on the roadside and in the meadows because they were used as a sensible means of transport.

Something similar is currently happening in the USA, where the market leaders Lime and Bird are offering e-kick scooters for hire. In San Francisco, the market had to be regulated quickly in order to cope with the resulting chaos. The number of accidents there has also skyrocketed. Another problem is the short shelf life of the means of transport in sharing operations. According to the providers, a copy ends up in the garbage after about three months - a very short period of time for a vehicle with an electric motor and battery and therefore anything but sustainable. There is also the fact that foreign companies in the share economy often do not take strict German data protection so seriously. But so far everything seems to have happened in a largely orderly manner. Obviously they haveSharing providers understood that electric scooters only establish themselves as a fully fledged means of transport if their nerve factor for other road users is as low as possible.


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