Several major e-scooter companies have said that weight restrictions in the Government’s forthcoming rules are impractical.
The Road Traffic and Roads Bill will introduce long-awaited regulations for e-scooters on Irish roads and allow for major venture capital-backed e-scooter rental companies to enter the Irish market.
A group of these companies, including Voi, Lime and Tier, wrote to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to flag remaining issues with the legislation around weight limitations for e-scooters.
Under the bill, which is currently before the Seanad, the maximum unladen weight for a vehicle, or personal powered transporter (PPT), is 25kg.
This limit is counter to regulations elsewhere in Europe, the companies said, where limits are between 50kg and 75kg. This higher limit allows for more durable frame design and safety technology on the vehicle as well as the ability to hold a larger battery, they said.
‘Increased weight also makes it harder for shared e-scooters to be stolen’
“A 25kg unladen weight limit would require the deployment of earlier models of shared e-scooter, which more closely resemble private e-scooter hardware and have been proven to deliver worse safety outcomes, including higher rates of injury,” the letter said.
“Increased weight also makes it harder for shared e-scooters to be stolen or moved without being unlocked via the usual in-app process, reducing theft, antisocial behaviour and the risk of on-street hazards,” it added.
The companies’ e-scooters also include central processing units for operating safety cameras and sensors, which adds to the overall weight of the vehicle.
The companies say that the minimum weight in Ireland should be at least 55kg.
A spokesman for the Department of Transport said that it acknowledged the concerns raised by the companies in the letter.
“There has not been any further correspondence or engagement since then,” he said.