E-SCOOTERS

Last week I passed an accident: a young woman had fallen with her e-scooter. She had tried to answer her mobile phone while she was riding her scooter. She was lucky, her injuries were minor. But it reminded me that I’ve been wanting to talk about this topic.

Since the introduction of e-scooters in a number of European countries, emergency rooms have been faced with increasing accidents: In Germany in less than 3 months, nearly 200 accents were recorded, 99 percent of those caused by the rider him/herself. A third of those were seriously injured. In some countries, police has recorded deaths with electric scooters, most recently YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge, who died after being struck by a lorry in central London. It is said she hit a bump in the road and was then jolted onto the road. 

Did you know that in the UK it’s currently illegal to use e-scooters on public roads and pavements?

The main reasons why accident rates are so high are drunk driving/riding and using the scooter with an additional passenger. 

E-scooters can be a real pitfall, not just accident-wise.

So what can you do to ride your electric scooter safely and legally?

Wear a helmet. 

It’s is not a legal requirement to wear a helmet but it is highly recommended by experts, just like when you are riding a bicycle. Helmets these days are cheap, and easily transportable. Remember: when riding an e-scooter, you  have no airbag crush-collapsible zone as in a car. 

Use reflectors.

You can buy sets of reflectors making your e-scooter and thus yourself more visible. 

Two brakes, light and a bell.

In some countries, an electric scooters ahas to be equipped with the same safety tools as bicycles: two brakes, light and a bell. This is about making yourself visible to others, especially at twilight or at night. 

Electric scooters are usually not part of your personal indemnity insurance.

Having an accident with an e-scooter can cause considerable damage and easily cost you several thousand Swiss Francs. Because they are powered by an engine, they are considered motor vehicles. whether they use petrol or not is of no relevance. 

And what about in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, electric scooters and e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 and 25km/h respectively, are considered agh motorbikes. In the road environment, they are equal to bicycles and must use cycling lanes where present. 

E-scooters with a pedal assist system are allowed in pedestrian area if this area is signposted “cycling permitted” only and then only at walking speed (which in practice is a speed of 5-6 km/h maximum). 

To be allowed to ride an e-scooter in Switzerland, it must comply with the ASTRA regulations. The ASTRA is the Swiss Federal Agency for Roads. Your electric scooter (or e-bike) must comply with the following rules:

  • maximum 48 volt and 500 watt output
  • maximum speed 20 km/h, 25km’h with pedal assistance
  • must have a front and a back light
  • must have brakes on both wheels

For  S-Pedelecs (pedal electric cycles, so bikes where the engine supports the pedalling only while actually pedalling), faster e-bikes and faster electro scooters additional regulations apply:

  • If electric scooters and e-bikes have an output of between 500 and 100 watt, and are able to reach more than the mentioned 20/25 km/h maximum speed, they must fulfil with a separate Swiss road compliance test.

When you purchase such a vehicle, you will receive a registration certificate. With this certificate, you can purchase a small moped number plate and a small moped “vignette”. this vignette must be renewed annually and includes the indemnity insurance. 

Additionally, unlike the slower electric scooters and e-bikes, the faster ones require riders to wear helmets, which must comply with the DIN EN Norm 1078.

Safe driving!

Posted on August 19, 2019 by Luitgard Holzleg

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