The government will discuss planned amendments to the Traffic Act which are favorable to electric scooters on Thursday. But Tallinn has not yet decided if it will allow scooters to be used this summer in the city.
Electric scooter rental companies are ready to bring their vehicles back to the streets for the summer season. However, Tallinn has not yet decided whether to allow electric scooters on its streets.
Minister of Economic Affairs Taavi Aas (Center) said local governments can make their own decisions independently.
"In the case of Tallinn, so much depends on their decision, because the so-called parking of electric scooters is in the city's landscape, the city has the right to say whether they allow it or not," Aas explained.
Aas said the amendments to the Traffic Act, which primarily concern electric scooters, are being discussed at Thursday's cabinet session, and these amendments are favorable to scooters. He added that his personal position is also to favor rather than restrict electric scooters.
Concerns emerged last year about the safety of the scooters, a common sight in Tallinn as two companies, Bolt and CityBee, rolled out their hire service in close succession in late June; some accidents had been reported.
In February, the government announced its planned amendments.
Electric scooters, including those privately owned, would remain confined to sidewalks and cycle lanes, and the amends would introduce a new category of "light-duty" vehicle, which would also include electric skateboards, hover boards, Segways and the like, the ministry says, transforming users into a "pedestrian driver" in the eyes of the law.
This would mean that electric scooter riders would be subject to similar requirements as apply to car drivers, including a ban on driving while intoxicated.
The "light-duty" vehicle category would consist of a single-person vehicle, propelled by an electric motor with a maximum power rating of 1 KW and a maximum speed of no higher than 25 km per hour.
While the Bolt and CityBee scooters, which are rented via a smartphone app, had a maximum speed limit of around 20 km per hour, more powerful private models have been available for sale.
Editor: Helen Wright