Rome to impose new rules to curb ‘wild west’ e-scooter incidents

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

Authorities in Rome are to impose new electric scooter rules, such as restricting use to adults with ID, after a number of crashes and near-misses in the city.

The e-scooter rental market has boomed in recent years, with 14,500 scooters currently available in the Italian capital, provided by seven licensed companies.

Authorities are moving to clamp down on the situation, including people riding on pavements and sometimes with more than one person on board.

Seventeen people have been killed in Italy in the past two years after incidents involving electric scooters, according to the consumer protection association Codacons.

Its chief, Carlo Rienzi, described Rome last month as “a wild west, with scooters going where they shouldn’t, often with two people on board, breaking the speed limit”.

Rome police say they record an average of 15 accidents a month, according to AFP.

The new rules include restricting the use of electric scooters to adults with formal ID and limiting the number of operators in the city to three.

There will also be restrictions on parking, a move anticipated by the US company Bird, which recently announced its scooters in the city centre could only be left in designated areas.

The speed limit will also be reduced from 25 kmph (15 mph) to 20 on roads and six in pedestrian areas.

The draft regulations, which are are expected to come into force in January 2023, have pleased many.

“They cut you off. They pass on the right, on the left, they get stuck in front of us and risk being crushed,” said Paolo Facioni, a bus driver.

Related: ‘I know they’re exciting – but calm down!’ Britain’s love-hate affair with the e-scooter

Residents also complain that scooters are dumped haphazardly on narrow pavements, blocking access for prams and wheelchairs.

For those who use the scooters, however, concerns have been raised, particularly about the reduced speed limits.

The announcement comes in the same month that a US tourist caused €25,000 (£21,000) worth of damage after hurling her electric scooter down Rome’s Spanish Steps.

The incident was filmed by a passerby and police later caught up with the 28-year-old and fined her and a 29-year-old male companion, who had wheeled his e-scooter down the 18th-century marble steps, €400 each.

The pair were also banned from returning to the monument.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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