BERLIN, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Electric-powered scooters, also known as "E-Scooters" or "Kick-Scooters", will be officially approved as a new mode of transport in Germany, a spokesperson for the country's ministry of transport announced on Friday.
The spokesperson said that a corresponding "directive on the participation of small electric vehicles in traffic"would be released by late 2018 or early 2019 at the latest. Electric scooters will then formally be allowed to travel along cycle paths and motor roads as long as they fulfilled regulatory standards detailed in the 40-page-long directive.
Although electric scooters have enjoyed growing popularity in Germany, their use was previously illegal due to a lack of an official traffic permit and insurance provisions which are required under local law for all motor vehicles which can travel at a speed faster than six kilometers per hour. Police in Berlin have already confiscated more than 60 devices in the German capital in 2018 alone, issuing its owners ordinance fines.
In order to be eligible to drive e-scooters in the future without being penalized by law enforcement officers, the owners must attach an insurance placard, be at least 15 years of age and have some form of driving license, be it for a vehicle or regular motor scooter. The ministry stated that wearing helmets would not be necessary.
Commenting on the development, the German Technical Inspection Association (Tuev) welcomed the introduction of the new regulatory regime in principle but at the same time criticized the inclusion of an obligation for drivers to obtain a scooter insurance. The insurance requirements mean that e-scooters will treated like regular motor vehicles from a legal perspective and will hence not be allowed to be taken onto public transportation such as busses, trams and trains.
Electric scooters are usually used for short-distance journeys. Outside of Germany, cities such as Paris, Moscow and Vienna have recently witnessed a growing trend towards electric-scooter sharing services which adhere to the same principle as existing bicycle share schemes by providing vehicles for rent at docking stations.