Gardai in Dundalk recently arrested an individual for being drunk on an e-scooter and say that the Road Traffic Act applies to the vehicles and those who use them.
During the quarterly meeting of the Dundalk Joint Policing Committee on Wednesday, Fianna Fáil councillor Conor Keelan queried attending Gardai on the legislation surrounding the vehicles. Most scooters of this kind are powered by rechargeable electric motors.
Many such vehicles are programmed not to exceed speeds of 26km per hour however some can travel at speeds well above 30km per hour. Prices start at around €300 for basic e-scooters with some retailing at as high as €2,000. Typically, they have a range of 20-40km on a charge.
Despite a Government commissioned report in 2019 suggesting that the vehicles be made legal for road usage in Ireland, e-scooters are currently not regulated in Ireland and are technically illegal.
“Some people have said to me they are quite dangerous indeed,” Cllr Keelan told the meeting. “I understand there have been some accidents in other parts of the country.”
“They are mechanically propelled vehicles, which is what the Road Traffic Act will tell us they are. The Road Traffic will apply. We see different levels of their abuse,” Garda Inspector Liam Archibold said.
“Where it becomes an issue, is on roads and footpaths. We won’t accept that. We have seized one or two of them, over the past period of time. We arrested a person in Dundalk for being drunk while driving one. It is being policed as far as we can.”
Cllr Keenan also clarified he was not referring to mobility scooters, but e-scooters as pictured above.
It is understood An Garda Siochana was among the dissenting voices on the issue of legalising e-scooters for road usage last year, expressing opposition to legalising the scooters on the grounds that they are potentially dangerous and would pose a risk to users and to others who use roads and cycle lanes.