Police in Estonia removing too-powerful electric scooters from traffic
Over the past few weeks, police in Estonia have caught around a dozen electric scooters operating traffic in Tallinn whose electronic speed limiters had been removed. The drivers of the modified scooters are now facing penalties for operating a motor vehicle without a driver's license.
In just one night last week, police came across four such modified scooters, the most powerful of which had a peak of 8400 watts of power and top design speed of 110 km/h (68 mph), the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) Traffic Monitoring Center reported.
Police in Estonia are reminding scooter owners that if an electric scooter's motor power exceeds 1000 watts or design speed exceeds 25 km/h (15.5 mph), it no longer qualifies as a personal light electric vehicle, but rather a motor vehicle, the operation of which requires a responding driver's license. It is, however, prohibited to operate non-compliant electric scooters in general traffic.
Personal light electric vehicles are meant to be operated in the same environment as pedestrians, hence the required caps on motor power and speed, the police explained.
Raul Annuka, a PPA official from the crash proceeding group at the North Prefecture's Traffic Monitoring Center, told ERR that in accordance with the Traffic Act and the case of a first-time violation, the operation of a motor vehicle without a license can be fined up to €800.
According to the official, those caught operating electric scooters with their electronic speed limiters removed have cited various excuses for doing so, primarily claiming that the company from which they bought the e-scooter hadn't explained that it isn't street legal.
"Unfortunately, many companies selling electric scooters themselves offer electronic speed limiter removal services," he highlighted.
Annuka noted that as this year has seen an uptick in crashes with casualties in which one party was the driver of an electric scooter, the PPA is paying more attention to the latter as well.
Nonetheless, electric scooters cannot be registered as motor vehicles. In accordance with the Traffic Act, if an electric scooter's motor power exceeds 1000 watts or design speed exceeds 25 km/h (15.5 mph), it qualifies as either a moped or a motorcycle. In accordance with EU directives in turn, however, the registration of a moped or motorcycle stipulates the existence of a seat, the Traffic Monitoring Center explained.
Scooter producers have not produced electric scooters that meet the requirements for a moped or motorcycle. Electric scooters lack a type approval at the EU level, due to which such vehicles cannot be registered.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla