France has introduced new restrictions governing the use of e-scooters this week. The battery-powered, motorised vehicles have been the subject of passionate debate across Europe amidst reports of multiple accidents.
In response, new regulations now impose a speed limit of 25km per hour on e-scooters with a fine of €1500 (S$2260) for possessing e-scooters capable of a higher speed limit.
France’s driving code has also been amended, adding a minimum age of 12-years-old in order to drive an e-scooter.
Other key regulations include a ban on multiple passengers on e-scooters with a possible fine of €35 (S$52) for transporting another passenger.
E-scooters will also be banned from riding on all pavements and pedestrian sidewalks. The ban will be enforced and violators face a €135 (S$200) fine if caught.
Regulations in other European countries
Germany legalized e-scooters in May but also banned them from travelling on pavements.
In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to ride e-scooters on pavements, public roads or in cycle lanes. People owning these motorised personal vehicles have until July 1, 2020, to ensure their vehicle has front and rear position lamps, reflectors, a type of bell and a braking system.
Designed to be an eco-friendly way of travelling around a city, a study released in August found that they could be worse for the environment than taking a bus or riding a bike due to their manufacture, collection and distribution.
Growing calls for e-scooter ban in Singapore
In Singapore, there have been growing calls for a ban on the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) amid a slew of accidents, injuries, fires, and irresponsible users.
The first half of 2019 has already seen 54 PMD-related fires in Singapore – more than double in the same period last year.
Trauma doctors at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) are also seeing a rise in injuries suffered by personal mobility device (PMD) riders, according to a study conducted by the hospital over a 33-month period.
In the first nine months of 2019, 79 PMD riders were admitted to TTSH for injuries, or an average of nine a month. This is compared with 87 in 2018, or seven a month; and 47 in 2017, or four a month.
Over 70,000 Singaporeans have also signed a petition calling for a ban on PMDs in Singapore.
In Singapore, PMDs are still permitted on pavements. However, the government has floated the idea of banning the use of PMDs, if the behavior of riders does not improve,