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Minimum age raised, heavy fines, turn signals … the government’s plan to regulate electric scooters

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The Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, detailed the measures which should make it possible to fight against an ever-increasing accident rate.

The number of scooters in circulation is exploding. More than 700,000 were sold in France in 2022. But with that, the accident rate is also necessarily increasing. “+ 38%, between 2021 and 2022”, according to the Ministry of Transport. We deplored 34 deaths last year compared to 24 in 2021.

“A tool for decarbonization”

“By dint of incivility and accidents, electric scooters have made the development of these new forms of mobility sometimes chaotic in the eyes of our fellow citizens”, insisted Clément Beaune, this Wednesday, March 29, when presenting a national plan for better regulate the practice. Who still has virtues in his eyes. “Alongside bicycles and public transport, it is a new tool for sustainable daily mobility. When it replaces the car, it represents a solution and an additional asset on the path to decarbonizing our transport from here. 2050”.

This plan includes three strong measures. First, an increase in the minimum age of use by two years. “The young age of drivers and their inexperience are major risk factors. In line with other category 2 vehicles such as mopeds and cars without a licence, the driving age has been raised from 12 to 14 years”, detailed Clément Beaune.

Heavy fines

Second strong point, a marked reinforcement of the sanctions, “certain infringements, particularly dangerous, being frequently noted”, justified the minister. The fine will be much higher, €135 instead of €35, for scooter riders who ride on a prohibited path, in particular sidewalks; who unleash their engine; carrying another passenger. Clément Beaune particularly insisted on this last point. “In one out of five accidents, the users were two on the machine. It is important to make it clear that it is not a toy”.

Finally, a decree will specify that the machines must now be equipped with a brake light and indicators, “many accidents being caused by a lack of visibility, in particular in situations where reporting to other drivers is essential”.

A micromobility observatory

Beyond these measures, the plan provides for the creation of a micromobility observatory in order to create a reference framework for local authorities, as well as a charter of commitment that free-ride scooter operators will have to sign. service committing them to user safety, battery life of a minimum of five years, mandatory recycling in France, etc. A major communication campaign will finally be launched, particularly in schools.

Helmet not mandatory

On the other hand, this plan does not (yet) provide for making the wearing of helmets compulsory. However, in the rules applicable in the Highway Code, it is strongly recommended, as well as advising, to wear visible equipment, at night or during the day with insufficient visibility. It is also forbidden to wear earphones or a phone. Finally, reminds the Minister, insurance is compulsory for all users.

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