Pierre Montebello, an official from Transport Malta is urging people to not take regulations concerning e-scooters lightly.
E-scooters serve as an environmentally friendly and accessible, alternative mode of transport for our islands.
Controversial laws have come into force around a year and a half ago, saying that e-kickscooters can only be used by one patron at a time and not on any arterial roads.
The scooters must be registered with an insurance company and must include third-party insurance. They can be driven on pavements, promenades, bike lanes, and pedestrian zones, with a maximum velocity of 10km/h. The scooters can be driven at a speed of up to 20km/h, on the road and in the direction of traffic.
Pierre Montebello, an official from Transport Malta has explained to TVM that owning an e-kickscooter is not like owning a bicycle. You can’t simply just get on a scooter and ride it into the road but must first have it registered.
“While operators are following the regulations – are registering them and seeing that they are insured, etc, according to the regulations that we have mentioned, we have observed there are several individuals who do not do this,” he said.
“It is worth noting that when an individual buys an e-kickscooter and uses it on the road, he needs to register it and also cover it by insurance. If they don’t do that it will not be in compliance with the law.”
No scooter can be driven if it is not registered. Authorities have stated that they have over 1,000 scooters registered, most of them operators.
The scooters can be driven by anyone over the age of 16 and have to be covered by insurance and be licensed. Drivers must be covered by an AM license (for mopeds) and they also have to take the theory test in order to ensure that the person driving knows the road and traffic regulations.
The scooters cannot be left in a place that would obstruct pedestrian access, however, the law does allow them to be parked on pavements. Despite this, the scooters have often been found in compromised places, serving as a nuisance for pedestrians.
If caught breaching the law, fines can reach up to €1,000. Since 2018, 13 people have been involved in accidents with such scooters.
Despite operators abiding by the law and abiding by the regulations, authorities are aware that many individuals are doing otherwise.
At the beginning of last year, independent MPs Marlene and Godfrey Farrugia posited a motion in parliament in order to discuss the retroactive effect which could take place if other external road issues are not taken care of. Such as there not being ‘adequate lanes’ in order to drive the scooters on and the lack of vehicle-type-wide enforcement.
They also brought Parliament’s attention towards the strict nature of the contraventions in place for those who are using e-kickscooters and that people driving other vehicles are not held to the same level of responsibility. Scooters that do not have trial run plates, risk fines of up to €500. On the other hand, the same contravention for a car risks a fine of between €25 and €60.