While there are an estimated 100,000 personal mobility devices in use here in Spain, many of them the fairly recent mania of electric bikes and scooters, there are no national rules yet on where and how they can be used, adding to the chaos on many city roads.
In some municipalities they are allowed the freedom of the highway whereas in others their presence on roads and pavements is strictly controlled.
However the General Directorate of Traffic has now published a new instruction on personal mobility vehicles in compliance with the “current traffic regulations”
The new legislation states that it is prohibited for electric scooters to transport more than one person or to be used on pavements and in pedestrian areas at a speed greater than 25kmh.
The new rules were introduced on Wednesday via an instruction for personal mobility vehicles in response to their “increasing popularity in urban areas” and under a “series of clarifying criteria aimed at users of these vehicles, municipalities and traffic and police authorities”.
The DGT, in its document, states that the regulation at national level “is currently being processed, but this does not prevent this instruction which elaborates on their use within the current traffic regulations”.
Meanwhile, in Alicante City, where there are said to be around 10,000 such electric scooters using the roads every single day, the council says that it also is in the process of introducing new legislation of its own in respect of scooter ordinance, which is expected to be approved by the end of January. The councillor of Mobility, José Ramón González, added that the local regulations will conform to the national ones, if they are in conflict at any point.
In the instruction issued by the DGT made public yesterday there are a number of issues that stand out but among the points in common, they advocate forbidding scooters to drive on pavements and in pedestrian areas, only authorise the transport of a single person on each vehicle, who also requires the use of a helmet.
Likewise users are not allowed the use of a mobile phone or headphones whilst in charge of such a vehicle or scooter. In addition, the DGT states that scooter users have an obligation to “undergo alcohol and drug testing” and that the vehicle must be fitted with light and reflective elements.
But the DGT and the Alicante City Council do not agree on all aspects when regulating the use of scooters. For example, DGT argues that personal mobility vehicles “are not required any administrative authorisation to be used, nor compulsory insurance”.
The DGT limits the maximum speed to 25 kilometres per hour, while in Alicante scooters are allowed, in general, to drive at up to 30 km/h. Neither does the DGT, according to the instruction published yesterday, require these vehicles to carry a bell.
Sources of the Department of Mobility in Alicante said that they will “study” the new instruction issued by the DGT without specifying whether the police will apply sanctions immediately or wait for the ordinance to be approved.