E-scooter users will be required to have a valid driving licence and insurance policy to take their vehicles on roads and pedestrian zones, under proposed regulations unveiled by Transport Malta on Monday.
Addressing a press conference, Transport Minister Ian Borg said the government had sought to strike a balance between encouraging their use as well as regulating it.
The regulations, which have been published for a 20-day public consultation period, have been announced as e-scooters become an increasingly popular means of transportation.
Times of Malta has previously reported that insurers are concerned that the low-cost scooters are currently in a legal grey area.
Where will e-scooters be permitted?
E-scooters will be banned outright for use on arterial roads and certain distributor roads. Anyone caught riding their scooters on these roads will be fined €200.
Driving e-scooters under tunnels or underpasses is strictly prohibited. Those caught doing so will be liable to a €500 fine.
Their use will however be permitted on all urban streets as well as in cycle lanes.
When used on the road, scooter riders will be expected to follow all relevant traffic signs.
The policy document envisions the setting up of a network of road signs indicating where e-scooter use is banned.
Driving against the flow of traffic will only be permitted where traffic signs are put up showing that such use of the road is allowed.
The maximum speed allowed on promenades and pedestrian zones will be 10km/h, with a 20km/h limit on roads.
Those caught over-speeding will be liable to a fine as well as license penalty points.
Anyone riding an e-scooter after dark will have to wear a high visibility vest.
Helmet use is not mandatory, though the authority is recommending they are worn at all times.
Registration and licensing
All e-scooters, whether individually owned or used as part of a sharing service, have to be registered and licensed with Transport Malta.
An identification number will be issued in the form of a sticker.
A one-time registration fee is set at €11.65 while an annual license of €25 per year in the form of a road license will be charged to e-scooter owners.
Operators of e-scooter sharing schemes will have to pay a €200 annual license fee and a €25 fee per e-scooter operated.
Incentives to reduce car use
Minister Borg said the government wanted to promote those who cut down on the use of their private car.
This would be achieved through a regulated framework to help erode the culture of private car use.
He pointed out the government had already given out 30,000 bus cards to youths.
Ferry use was also on the rise, he said.
Dr Borg said the government understood space was limited, and was doing its utmost to eliminate the many bottlenecks around the road network.
Submissions as part of the public consultation which closes on September 22 can be made here.
Regulations 'downright silly' - AD
In a statement, Alternattiva Demokratika slammed the new regulations, which it said would hurt the uptake of low-carbon mobility.
"This is not about regulating the use of space by electric scooter hire companies, but on clamping down on road users who happen not to be using a car," the Green Party said.
"A limit on the speed of electric scooters is understandable, however the proposed requirements for registration, for insurance and above all for electric scooter users to be obliged to have a car driving licence is over the top and downright silly.
"The minister should make streets safer and move away from his obvious assumption that streets are there to serve the perceived needs of cars over and above the needs of everyone else."
AD said those who choose alternatives to car use should be supported, and that safety concerns should be addressed through education and increasing areas which are off-limits to cars.
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