New Irish road safety legislation will categorise e-scooters and e-bikes similarly to traditional manual bikes, according to Irish transport consultant Conor Faughnan.
The Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 was signed into law in June 2023, and has given the green light for regulations to govern e-scooters for the first time. Although the comprehensive regulations are not yet available, Faughnan told The Pat Kenny Show that this legislation will treat most electric bikes and e-scooters the same as regular pedal bikes.
“In the primary legislation, we know the maximum speed [for e-scooters] is going to be 25 kilometres per hour. The new law says an e-bike is grand – if it’s a light vehicle, if it’s 25km/h, then for all legal purposes, it’s a bike. Whenever you see in the law “bicycle” think “e-bike” – they have the same rules,” explained Faughnan.
E-bikes typically have average speeds ranging from 20 to 25 kilometres per hour, whereas e-scooters have an average speed between 25 to 48 kilometres per hour. According to Faughnan, this new legislation around the speed and power of electric scooters and bikes follows a trend in most European countries.
Faughnan emphasized that integrating legislation for e-bikes and e-scooters with regular bicycles will contribute to the safe operation of these electric vehicles, and people shouldn’t be intimidated by their seemingly faster speeds.
“If you just forget the engineer or the motor for the moment, [fast cyclists] exist already, imagine the guys zipping down the hills in their spandex, cycling at very fast speeds. In town, a lot of new cycle tracks… they have plastic bollards, and the cyclists are single-file. That’s quite frustrating if you’re on a big bike and you’ve got a lot of steam or you’re trying to get into town, and there’s a slow-moving mum with kids on a ‘trike’. It’s no different really whether the bike is e-powered. The simple rule of thumb is ‘it’s a bike’, until it gets too big and then it’s a moped.”