Shortening e-scooters set to shorten their numbers on streets

Should the new regulations enter into force, the usage of as many as a couple of thousand e-scooters is to be rendered illegal on the grounds of excessive length, GazetaPrawna.pl news website has written.

Recently the Justice and Infrastructure Ministries have been working intensely on a draft law that would better regulate the use and legal status of personal transport vehicles (PTV), including e-scooters. But as GazetaPrawna.pl noted, the fundamental issue of how to define PTVs has not yet been solved.

The Justice Ministry’s latest edition of the draft law defines PTVs as vehicles with an electric engine whose construction allows them to be driven only by the person in control. PTVs are to be fitted with lighting, its maximum speed should not exceed 25 km/h and its maximum length must be no longer than 125 cm.

The last criterion could result in many already-in-use vehicles falling short of the list of legal PTVs.

Marek Tokarewicz of the Polish Association of PTVs Branches told GazetaPrawna.pl that “a detailed survey of the market showed that a great many models of vehicles that have already been purchased by private users have not met, literally by a couple of inches, the criterion of length proposed by the legislators.” Mr Tokarewicz added that other European countries were more lenient in specifying the maximum length of PTVs. For instance, France set it to 135 cm, whilst Denmark and Germany chose 200 cm.

“Given the fact that the possibility of driving a PTV by more than a single person has already been ruled out of the draft, it would make sense to increase the maximum length of the PTV. It would positively influence the vehicle’s stability during driving while not decreasing the safety of other users of public space… Increasing the maximum PTV length by 10 would be sufficient in Poland to prevent the exemption of thousands of PTVs,” said Mr Tokarewicz.

According to the draft law, owners of too long PTVs will have a year before the law goes into force to adjust their vehicles to the new speed limit. A software that would limit a PTV’s speed to 25 km/h could cost around PLN 80-100 (EUR 18-23). But the users of too long PTVs will find themselves helpless, as, clearly enough, one cannot simply take away a couple of additional centimetres and expect to preserve the vehicle’s functionality.

According to GazetaPrawna.pl, the limitations on length read in the draft law, if it is passed and enters into force, could result in producers devising models that would meet the stringent requirements of Polish law. This, in turn, would increase the price of PTVs produced for and sold in Poland. The consequences of such a law would see users import off-specification PTVs via Chinese auction services, hoping that the police and municipal police would not pay attention to details.

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