March 9, 2021

Without brake for the scooter

Without brake for the scooter


Bicycles have been a tough competitor. The electric scooters, which at first seemed only minor and eccentric executives, have come to stay. Since its establishment in San Francisco (California) as a test bank, its expansion has not stopped rolling at a global level. And with them, the complaints of pedestrians, who see how the limited space left by cars is used by all types of personal mobility vehicles (VMP). Meanwhile, the cities where this medium has been implemented, have not approved their respective ordinances, and that despite having given the green light to take off. "It is urgent to regulate at the state level the use of the electric scooter from the point of view of road safety, as well as to define the model of coexistence that is desired," says Mario Arnaldo, president of Automoviles Europeos Asociados (AEA). Iván Sixto, vocal member and one of the founders of the Association of Users of Personal Mobility Vehicles (Auvmp), has the same opinion: «It would be desirable to have a unified regulation for all cities». It is the only way to prevent "the skate of the devil" -as they call the scooter in Spanish America-from bringing chaos.

In 2016, the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) proposed some basic criteria for the use of VMP, but this instruction does not include any specific measure beyond classifying these means of transport by weight and speed. That is, this matter is delegated to the respective town councils.

Nowadays, only Barcelona has a regulation. Last Monday, Valencia presented the draft of its new ordinance, which gives priority to pedestrians and public transport, prohibiting the use of electric scooters and bicycles on sidewalks.

Specifically, and waiting for it to be approved, personal mobility vehicles must circulate along bike lanes, cycle lanes and residential areas with a limit of 30 kilometers per hour. Only pedestrian streets of up to 20 km / h of power can be on pedestrian streets and as long as they do not exceed 10 km / h speed. The small print continues. And that is precisely the problem, that "a citizen can not learn different regulations to be able to ride on a scooter depending on which city is at any given moment or another," Arnaldo complains.

Barcelona, ​​the only city in the country with a current regulation, establishes that type A scooters (which do not exceed 20 km / h) can circulate along bike lanes, through single-lane streets (those that do not have a curb that separates the sidewalk and where pedestrians and road traffic coexist) and public parks. Those of category B (those that reach 30 km / h) will be able to circulate along the same itineraries as those of type A and also along streets of streets 30. That is to say, and in short, users of scooters can go by the bike lanes . But yes, when parking, can not be attached to trees, traffic lights, benches, or on the sidewalks when that prevents the passage of pedestrians. And here's a problem, because a pedestrian is not the same as a pedestrian with a baby stroller or a person in a wheelchair, who need more space.

In Madrid, on the other hand, although the final regulations have not yet been approved -it will be made soon-, the planned ordinance is that users of scooters can not drive on sidewalks or by road. The text states that Type A vehicles may circulate through segregated and non-segregated bike lanes, through single-lane streets and through public parks. In the case of those in category B, they can travel on the same routes as the A and also on 30 street streets.

Faced with such different rules, its regulation at the state level is key, especially when personal mobility vehicles, whether scooters, "segways" or "hoverboards", are fast, cheap and have zero direct emissions. Its users ask to equate them with bicycles, allowing to circulate along the same routes through which the famous two wheels go, which would help citizens and tourists to circulate properly, as Sixto explains.

With a difference, yes: that electric scooters do not have much autonomy. On average, it is estimated that they have about 30 kilometers. A priori may seem sufficient, especially when these vehicles are called "last kilometer"; that is, its use is for journeys that one would do on foot. But the truth is that in large cities, 30 kilometers of autonomy is very little, because the more years the battery has, the battery will lose autonomy, as it happens with electric bicycles. Now, as an advantage, they are easy to recharge and being light can be done at home or at your workplace. And you can always choose the rental ones.

Regarding safety, the use of the electric scooter involves a risk for the user, as well as for third parties. Proof of this is «Vitoria, where in a week there were three pedestrian abuses by users of scooters», recalls Arnaldo. In those cases there was no need to regret human losses, but unfortunately they have already happened. According to the press, at the end of August a 17-year-old boy died after being hit by a passenger car on the A-27 in Tarragona when he was traveling on the shoulder of the road on a scooter. Months ago, in mid-January, a five-year-old boy on an electric scooter was killed by a bus in Badajoz.

Regarding the number of accidents with the scooter as a protagonist in one sense or another, at present it is not possible to know the figure because there are cities like Madrid, "where these data are still not being collected with the particularity of the scooter, since there is a specific box for it, "they explained from the Municipal Police. However, "it will be done," the aforementioned sources said.

More than enough examples to promote a regulation at the state level, if not "this country will end up becoming a '' kingdom of taifas ''", concludes the president of AEA. The coexistence of all transport methods, in short, is possible: simply expand the network of bike lanes.

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