Gibraltar, a self-governing British Overseas Territory on the southern coast of Spain, has introduced a range of regulations to address the use of e-scooters on its roads.
The Personal Light Electric Transporters Act 2023 was the first step taken to allow the use of private vehicles in public areas, which is still forbidden in the UK.
Paul Balban, Gibraltar’s Minister for Transport, told Zag Daily that a legal framework was needed to address the widespread use of e-scooters in the peninsula and to increase road safety.
“The UK has focused on rentals, testing out the e-scooters with a few companies in a controlled environment,” said Balban. “We had to come up with rules specifically for Gibraltar.”
With a population of around 32,000, the city has not permitted the deployment of shared e-scooter schemes yet, though the Minister has said that there is interest from operators.
Gibraltar’s new rules include a minimum age of 17 to ride the e-scooters, a 25 km/h speed limit, mandatory use of a helmet at all times, as well as the need for front and back lights at night.
It is forbidden to ride on pavements, tamper with the speed and tow or carry another person. Riders can be stopped by police officers and fined in case of offences.
To encourage safe riding, the local police have launched a two-week awareness campaign to inform the public about the new rules.
Additionally, all e-scooter riders are subject to the normal rules of the road under the Traffic Act, including the use of mobile phones, drink and drug driving offences and the requirement to indicate.
“We don’t think there is a dangerous e-scooter or car,” said Balban. “There is dangerous rider use. We have opted to control and give safety through legislation.”
The next step is to create better infrastructure as part of its Active Travel Strategy, according to the Minister, which is not there yet.
“This is a blueprint for the future of bicycles and e-scooters that goes in line with our climate strategy as well. It shows the infrastructure of where we want to place bicycle lanes, which will be shared with e-scooters, but we are just starting it.
“Cycling is growing, so this is why we are developing this strategy to be able to allow people to choose the transportation in the way that they wish.”