Berlin, 14 June 2019
It is time to talk about the rise of the e scooter and micro-mobility in the past few years. Lime, Bird, Beam, Dott, Flash, PopScoot, Scoot, Skip, Spin, Tier Mobility, Voi Technology, Vogo, and Wind Mobility (just to name a few) have popped up out of nowhere. But are they here to stay?
Maybe the recent surge in the e scooter trend has to do with that fact that Bird and Lime reached massive success – fast. Forbes reported that within one year of inception, both of the USA-based companies reached billion-dollar valuations.
So it makes sense why other companies are keen to enter this emerging market. The e scooter craze started in the USA in cities like San Francisco, but as TechCrunch noted, they quickly reached Europe in cities like Paris, Brussels, Vienna, and Zurich.
Does Berlin want e-scooters?
The simple answer to this question is yes. Berlin is a city full of techies, weirdos, trend chasers, young and green-minded people. However, Berlin is still a part of Germany, and that means e scooters need to play by the rules. More accurately, more rules need to be created to properly regulate e scooters.
A few months ago, the German government held meetings to put into place new laws that will regulate the e scooter craze. Set to come into action on June 15th, 2019, the law specifically states that these electric vehicles are now allowed to drive on public roads. The new ordinance, Elektrokleinstfahrzeuge-Verordnung (eKFV), is intended to enable electrically operated vehicles without seats as well as self-balancing vehicles to be able to legally have access to public roads.
That being said, not all e scooter roller are made the same. Some are much more powerful than others. The law clarifies that the e scooters permitted in Germany include steering or a handrail, and provide a minimum speed of 6 km/h and a maximum speed of 20 km/h.
Why the rules?
It may seem like Germany is being a little strict, but it could be that they are attempting to learn from the first adopters in the USA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA found that head injuries were the most common accident associated with e scooters. Head injuries accounted for 45% of e scooter-related injuries. The study also concluded that many of these injuries were preventable with helmets.