Age limits on electric scooters are common across Europe, according to Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell.
He was speaking after it emerged the Government is planning to drop proposals to introduce an age limit because it would be unenforceable.
The Irish Times reports that the age limit will be dropped from the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021 because ownership of a scooter does not need to be registered and people in Ireland are not required to carry ID.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell said the “vast majority” of European countries enforce age limits on electric scooters.
“The sale of the device itself can be limited just like we limit the sale of cigarettes and alcohol,” he said. “There is no difference with an electric scooter device.”
He insisted that he vast majority of young people already carry some form of identification even though they are not required to.
He suggested Gardaí would be able to confiscate a scooter until the owner could prove their age.
“The road laws in relation to the police service across Europe can ask for identification if a youthful driver is nipping around on an electric scooter, perhaps dangerously,” he said.
“The vast majority of young people will have some form of identification as they get older. It is easily produced – a driver’s licence, a passport, a passport card can fit in a wallet these so there is no excuse really.”
'Only good sense'
Also on the show, transport commentator Conor Faughnan said removing the age barrier is “only good sense”.
“The easiest way to think of them is to think about them as following the same rules as a bicycle,” he said.
“We don’t have an age limit on the sale and supply of bicycles – we never could enforce it and we certainly don’t need it.
“What is trying to be established here in the law is what your common sense will tell you. If it looks and functions essentially like a bicycle and it belongs alongside other bikes on the road then that is how we should treat it.
“If it is too big and powerful, then it becomes a motorbike, and we should treat it as such. The amendments to the law going through at the moment are really about sorting out those regulations.”
The new bill will make electric scooters road legal for the first time – removing them from the ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’ classification and placing them in a newly created ‘Powered Personal Transporter’ (PPT) category.
Mr Faughnan said they will need to have a top speed of 25kph to remain within the PPT category.
“That is plenty fast enough,” he said. “That is a bicycle going very fast.
“It is certainly adequate for commuting. So, the e-powered devices that will essentially be in bike lanes will be no more powerful than that.
“Like I say, if it is broadly in the same category as a bike and it is not too powerful then it should be legally allowed to use bike lanes or whatever.”
He said the new laws could see a tripling in the number of people using e-scooters.
“If you are a bit further out or your mobility or fitness isn’t great, a bicycle mightn’t suit you, but an e-bike could be very handy indeed,” he said.
“So, we could have loads of these things on the roads and what that tells you is, it really reinforces the need to improve cycling facilities and the blend of how traffic mixes together in the cities.”
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