Electric scooters with motors more powerful than one kilowatt (kW) and the maximum speed of which exceeds 25 kilometers per hour (km/h) cannot be used in traffic, with the police promising to monitor compliance, police Lt. Col. Sirle Loigo said. While such vehicles cannot be sold in Estonian shops, the country can do nothing to stop e-scooters from being imported from other EU countries.
The Estonian Supreme Court on Tuesday decided that electric scooters with a top speed of more than 25 km/h and motor power of over 1 kW qualify as motor vehicles and therefore require registration and a driver's license to be operated.
"The case revolved around the question of whether such scooters are motor vehicles, which the Supreme Court decided faster and more powerful scooters are," Loigo explained.
She said that the judgment supports the police's recent position on the matter. "This decision rather confirms the police's opinion that light vehicles (kergliikur) with a top speed of over 25 km/h and more powerful than 1 kW must not be used in traffic."
Such vehicles are meant for use in pedestrian areas, Loigo explained. "The legislator has provided that more powerful and faster vehicles must not be used in such environments. It just isn't safe for other traffic participants," she said.
Asked whether such vehicles can be taken onto driving roads, Loigo said that such vehicles cannot presently be used on any road in Estonia.
Supervision to remain unchanged
Sirle Loigo said that the court judgment changes little for police supervision as similar principles were observed before.
"We do not plan to change anything in our recent practice as we have launched proceedings in the past upon coming across light vehicles going faster than 25 km/h. We check its official top speed and power figures, and if they do not correspond to what is allowed for light vehicles, proceedings have followed."
But Loigo added that there are not too many such cases and that users are often unaware of these aspects.
"We raised awareness last year, urging people to make sure the light vehicle can be used in Estonia before committing to a purchase," she said.
The police has been in touch with the Estonian Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) that is responsible for making sure such vehicles are not available in Estonian shops. Sellers should notify buyers that more powerful scooters cannot be used on public roads.
"The police cannot exercise supervision over what is sold in shops. That is the purview of the TTJA," Loigo said.
Consumer protection authority: we cannot regulate import of scooters
Ingrid Teinemaa, head of the TTJA's technical department, said in a written comment to ERR that there are no common regulations for such vehicles in the EU, with every Member State sporting its own rules.
"Because goods can move freely between participants of the single market, faster scooters could make their way to Estonia from other EU countries. Technical specifications laid down in the Traffic Act only apply to vehicles officially sold in Estonia," she explained.
Teinemaa also said that the TTJA has notified Estonian sellers of more powerful than allowed products and that scooters from third countries were all in accordance with requirements last year.
Editor: Marcus Turovski