New Irish laws around road safety will treat many e-scooters and e-bikes like regular pedal bikes, according to transport consultant Conor Faughnan.
The Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 was signed into law in June 2023, giving regulations around e-scooters the green light for the first time.
While the full regulations are not yet available, Mr Faughnan told The Pat Kenny Show this legislation will treat most electric bikes and e-scooters like regular pedal bikes.
“In the primary legislation, we know the maximum speed [for e-scooters] is going to be 25 kilometres per hour,” he said.
“The new law says an e-bike is grand – if it’s a light vehicle, if it’s 25km/h, then for all legal purposes, it’s a bike.
“Whenever you see in the law ‘bicycle’, think ‘e-bike’ - they have the same rules.”
The average speed of e-bikes ranges between 20 to 25 kilometres per hour, while the average e-scooter travels between 25 to 48 kilometres per hour.
'Everybody agrees they can use cycle tracks'
According to Mr Faughnan, this new legislation around the speed and power of electric scooters and bikes follows a trend in most European countries.
“Everybody agrees they can use cycle tracks,” he said. “Everybody agrees they cannot use pavements.
“Nobody on the globe is demanding that they have registration plates and license nonsense.”
Mr Faughnan said integrating e-bikes and e-scooters with regular bikes will help to keep these electric vehicles operating safely, and people shouldn’t be intimated by the seemingly faster speeds of them.
“If you just forget the engineer or the motor for the moment, [fast cyclists] exists already,” he said.
“Imagine the guys zipping down the hills in their spandex, cycling at very fast speeds.
“In town, a lot of new cycle tracks... they have plastic bollards, and the cyclists are single-file.
“That's quite frustrating if you're on a big bike and you've got a lot of steam or you're trying to get into town, and there's a slow-moving mum with kids on a ‘trike’.
“It’s no different really whether the bike is e-powered.
“The simple rule of thumb is ‘it’s a bike’, until it gets too big and then it's a moped.”
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