EU-level intervention delays regulations to make low-power electric scooters legal on Irish roads

— E-scooters will not be legal on streets and roads until regulations are enacted.

A European Commission submission on regulations governing scooters on Irish roads has delayed the enacting of the regulations according to junior transport Minister Jack Chambers.

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Regulations which would clarify the legal situation around electric bikes, including treating electric bikes with assistance beyond 25 km/h as light mopeds and allowing such to be registered and insured, is also likely delayed. IrishCycle.com has contacted the Department of Transport requesting comment on this.

The response from Minister Chambers was prompted by a written parliamentary question by Cork TD Colm Burke (Fine Gael).

Burke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the “reason the regulations under the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023, which governs the use of e-scooters, have not come into effect; when they will come into effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”

In a written response, Minister for State Chambers (Fianna Fail) said: “E-scooter regulations prepared by my Department were expected to be in place before the end of 2023, following completion of the EU TRIS (Technical Regulation Information Service) consultation process. This process applies to all draft technical regulations and is to prevent trade barriers in the internal market.”

“The European Commission submitted comments on the draft regulations under TRIS. On foot of legal advice, amendments to the draft regulations are required to address these, as well as some technical matters. The e-scooter regulations are now expected to be in place in Q2 2024 . E-scooters will not be legal for use in public places until then,” Minister Chambers said.

A letter to the Irish Government sent by Kerstin Jorna, the European Commission’s director-general at the for internal markets, said: “Electric scooters, which are in compliance with the applicable essential requirements of the [EU] Directives, but which do not comply with requirements or specifications of the notified draft regulations supported by the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023] relating to the aspects regulated by the Directives, could still be placed on the Irish Market.”

The letter, which references the Machinery Directive and the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive, however, notes that “none of these Directives address aspects relating to the road safety of the covered products while circulating on roads.”

The situation with the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 is that it regulates what is allowed to be used on roads, not what is allowed to be sold, it’s unclear if the regulations written up to support the scooter elements of the Act went further this or if the European Commission’s intervention will cause much of a delay.


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