Traffic Act will consider electric scooter riders as regular drivers

Bolt electric scooters parked in front of Tallinn Bus Station.
Bolt electric scooters parked in front of Tallinn Bus Station. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

While electric scooters sift through traffic with the silence and quickness of a lizard, there have not been many registered accidents. Starting in July, when a revised Traffic Act will be in force, scooter riders will be considered as drivers instead of pedestrians.

Director Kristo Veinberg started using an electric scooter last year and considers it a comfortable mode of transport. But he is critical because operating a silent and fast vehicle is not easy and can be difficult for some, according to ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera".

"We don't have a traffic culture that involves lightweight vehicles. Especially with the youth - they don't know, they can't drive, and they don't consider other road users. This inevitably leads to dangerous situations.

Venberg has not been in an accident with his scooter, but he has seen one.

"Close to Viru Keskus, an adolescent collided with an elderly person because they couldn't correctly assess speed and distance," he explained.

The current Traffic Act considers the operator of a electric scooter a pedestrian, and the scooter itself as an aid, similar to crutches. Therefore, the Police does not consider scooter accidents as traffic accidents, but as regular accident cases.

After the revised Traffic Act comes into force, electric scooters will become lightweight vehicles. If the engine capacity exceeds 1 kW, it can not be operated on a walkway. Any engine under 1 kW can be used on a walkway, but speed has to be accommodated to pedestrians.

"Electric scooter drivers bring a higher chance of danger. They move fast and it has to be considered that a pedestrian might not be able to hear or see them. When passing a pedestrian, the speed should be matched with theirs," said Hannes Kullamäe, head of traffic control at the Police and Border Guard Board's North Prefecture.

"It is a great mode of transport for the city. I've tried and like it. You just have to be considerate of other people," said Kati, who has not seen any issues in traffic with scooters, rather with cyclists.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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