Viljandi takes Bolt e-scooters off its streets over liability wrangle

Bolt rental e-scooters and electric bicycle, in Tallinn.
Bolt rental e-scooters and electric bicycle, in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Bolt's e-scooters are currently barred from use in the South Estonian town of Viljandi, regional daily Sakala reports, due to an impasse over who bears responsibility for damage incurred by users of the scooters – the city's authority's say that responsibility should be Bolt's.

Karin Kase, Bolt's head of public relations, told Sakala (link in Estonian) that the company is not willing to be liable for any damage that its customers may themselves cause while using e-scooters in Viljandi, calling such a requirement "as illogical as forcing car model manufacturers to have liability for road traffic accidents caused by drivers," adding that when renting an e-scooter, customers agree to contractual terms which required them to accept liability in such cases.

Aleksandr Lilišentsev, another Bolt spokesperson, said the company and Viljandi authorities have a different viewpoint on who would take liability, reiterating Kase's stance and claiming that car rental hires the world over work on the same principle – of the driver being liable for damage.

Andres Mägi, head of Viljandi city's administrative office, says that the change would reduce the administrative burden on officialdom, citing an example where claiming full damages from youths who almost literally burned rubber on a school's new basketball court surface proved difficult, in addition to having to liaise with the Police and Border Guard Board, while Viljandi city government would also like better regulation of e-scooter parking – an oft-head complaint in Tallinn and Tartu too.

Lilišentsev said none of the other municipalities in which Bolt e-scooters are available in Estonia have put in place a ban or as stringent requirements as has Vljandi, adding that the contractual talks are ongoing and, once resolved, Bolt's e-scooters will be back on the streets of the town within 24 hours.

Sakala is part of the Postimees Group.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Postimees

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