New E-Scooter laws in Spain

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Posted and filed under General Articles of Interest.

e-scooterlazenia

E-scooters appear to be running out of road on the Costa Blanca!

If you are around Spain this summer you’ll notice that the amount of e-scooters of various shapes and sizes on the Spanish roads has soared. They look good and are providing commuters and tourists with cheap, seemingly reliable form of transport to beat the summer traffic.

There is another side, or two. More than 1,500 people have been treated for injuries from using different forms battery powered electric scooters in the United States in 2018. We could not find the relevant figures for Spain, but these scooters are not considered harmless.  Also, Governments like tax. Currently the authorities earn nothing from these vehicles, who are using public roads.

The Spanish traffic authority (DGT) is frantically scrambling to put laws in place to control this exponential growth of electric scooters on the streets of Spain. These mechanically-propelled vehicles or MPV are vehicles for one rider with one or two wheels, powered by electric motors and that have a top speed of 25 km/hr. Some of them reach speeds of 50 km/hour!!

There are no official figures in Spain on the number of MPVs but the DGT here estimates the number is more than 110,000. The Spanish government had laws ready to be introduced but the current stalemate in Madrid, means local governments in different regions are introducing their own laws with immediate effect. One Spanish city banned rental companies from hiring these scooters this summer due to safety concerns.

Town halls in many areas are now waiting for a Traffic Authority of Spain (DGT) decree to be approved. The new legislation should have taken effect this month (July) but the early general election in Spain left everything in limbo. Spain has yet to form a new government, Murcia’s local government was rejected this week.

Currently, regulations on speed limits, vehicle power and accepted normal driving practices vary greatly depending on where exactly in Spain you are. In some cities, they are illegal for children below 15, in others not. In fact, the same vehicle can be legal here in La Zenia, but illegal in Torrevieja.

It is currently an offence to drive on the footpaths, (or most of them) drive under the influence of alcohol (naturally) or any “abnormal driving practices” (like driving with headphones on). Any breach of traffic regulations is against the law. Dangerous driving is still considered dangerous driving.

The different technical details of the bikes, the look and feel of different bikes and the concept of what exactly constitutes mechanically-propelled vehicles make it difficult to have clear regulation. Some of these things are small motorbikes!

Under the draft new law, which will soon to be approved), these devices will be banned from the roads completely and relegated to the various bicycle lanes. Speed will be capped at 30 kilometer-per-hour yet the draft decree gives local authorities freedom to introduce further restrictions. For example – are helmets compulsory? We don’t know yet.

What about insurance? Someone is going to get hurt in Spain if the American experience is anything to go by. Personally, if I was on one, I ́d be well insured. What if you are riding an MPV and someone walks out in front of you? They are silent so nobody will hear you coming!

More problems; Spanish cyclists’ associations are adamant that bicycle lanes should be exclusively for bicycles, you know, the old fashioned ones. A mechanically-propelled vehicle with the same features as an electric bicycle and no more than 250 watts of power and a (maximum speed of 25km/hr) should be ok to pass this particular hurdle.

The boom of these devices both those for rent and to buy has opened up this legal vacuum not just in Spain but across Europe and resulted in the current chaos on the roads and bicycle lanes in Spain.

People who use MPVs in Spain are aware of the legal uncertainty. The fact that we don’t know how legal they soon will be, has reduced sales given there is no guarantee that an electric scooter purchase complies with legal requirements.

Soon, in the second phase of the laws in Spain, (once we get passed phase 1!) they will cover issues such as the need for insurance. It’s not currently mandatory, there is no minimum driving age and the use of reflective clothing is still optional- but not for much longer!

The new legislation hopes to simplify the issue by clarifying what is a PMD, as they are also called in Spain, into two distinct groups. We know that there are scooters with one or two wheels weighing 25 kg for one user. This includes hoverboards, electric skateboards, electric scooters and unicycles. Next we have segways, and scooters that can reach speeds of up to 50 km/hr.

Regulations on these faster and more dangerous e-scooters must consider how to stay ahead of the pace of development of newer, faster devices.

Vehicles should have a certificate from the manufacturer stating that they are safe- but be warned laws are about to change in Spain. What is is considered safe today, may not be tomorrow. Before you think of driving one here check the local regulations or you may be opening yourself to a whole load of pain! (Literally and legally!)

15 Comments

  • Brian Borrmann

    In Germany E-scooter users must stick to a speed limit of 20 kilometers per hour and be aged 14 years or older. A driving licence and insurance is also required

  • Sir Tomm

    It surprises me that most manufacturers are not required to have lights and a horn to warn people. My own experiences have been that people on scooters seem to think they have the right of way on sidewalks but due to the quietness has led to many interactions with citizens on the move. I personally feel that they do have a purpose and certainly with seats make Ireland vehicle for elderly to go on errands. A law is necessary for helmets and insurance for the rider and others on the walkway. I think they should slow them down to reduce injuries and accidents to maybe half their current speed.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Tom,

      We note your comments.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Stewart Robertson

    Hello,

    I’m looking for Civil Liability Insurance for a mini electric scooter (Cat A) for using in Alicante and Benidorm to comply with the new law

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Evening Stewart,

      We can definitely help you with the Civil Liability Insurance for your scooter, we work closely with an insurance broker and would be happy to forward your details for a no obligation quote. Please let us know if this is something you would be interested in.

      We look forward to hearing from you.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Chris Marshall

    Nicola, can you forward your details as I am looking for a civil liability policy for my scooter. Many Thanks,
    Chris

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Chris,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      We would be more than happy to pass your details to our broker for a non obligation quote for civil liability insurance. We will contact you directly to discuss this matter further.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Neill Stacey

    Please could you send me details of the broker that has liability insurance for electric scooters ?
    Thank you very much. Neill

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Evening Neill,

      Of course, not a problem at all. Our Insurance broker will be in contact with you directly to provide a free quote.

      In the meantime should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Robert Lee

    Hello Nicola Ryan,
    My partner and I will be in Spain with kick e-scooters for 3 months from January 2020, can you please help with the civil li­ab­il­ity in­sur­ance?
    Thank you,

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Robert,

      Yes of course, no problem at all.

      With your permission, we can pass your details to our broker who will provide a competitive, no obligation quote for the Civil Liability Insurance.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Gino Rigitano

    Hi Nicola, I am very keen to purchase a couple of these city coco 2000W scooters, I live in Bennisa costa, can you advise me on updates regarding road legalities or where to find such information. I am happy with paying for license plates and insurance. Thank you

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Gino,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      For the road legalities for Bennisa, it would be best to ask the Local Police in your area, they mainly deal with the Traffic matters and we know these legalities can change from town to town.

      Should you need any assistance with the name change on the scooter or the public liability insurance, should you need it. We would be delighted to help you.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Andy Jenkinson

    A warning: You CAÑNOT take an electric kick scooter on an aeroplane!

    • Nicola Ryan

      Thank you for your advice Andy.

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