The Italian parliament is looking to regulate the use of e-scooters following a series of complaints about reckless riding and parking.
E-scooters have been legally equivalent to bicycles in Italy since early 2020, with around 140,000 currently on the road.
The National Observatory on Sharing Mobility reported that there were 7.4 million rentals in Italy last year, giving the country the second largest shared market in Europe.
In the same timeframe though there were 564 registered crashes, while four people have died as a result of incidents since the start of this year.
To tackle the threat of dangerous riding and clutter caused by incorrect parking, MPs have proposed a speed limit of 19mph on urban roads, 12mph on cycle paths and 4mph in pedestrian areas.
Users would in turn be required to hold insurance and wear a helmet and hi-vis jacket, while riding after dark could be banned.
Forza Italia MP Roberto Rosso said that e-scooters can prove “a great resource for everyone” if properly regulated, and is promoting the new laws after hearing evidence from the association for the blind.
Policy Director (Italy) at Superpedestrian Matteo Ribaldi, which operates a fleet of just under 2,000 shared e-scooters in the country, told Zag that micromobility could only reach its potential when the industry “prioritises safety over profits”.
“Shared micromobility in Italy has the potential to reduce air pollution, road congestion and help tackle climate change, but only when the industry works closely with city partners and prioritises safety over profits,” he said.
“Unfortunately, long-standing industry issues – including dangerous riding, cluttered footpaths and outdated e-scooter models – are still the norm rather than the exception across the world, including in Italy. It’s no wonder that authorities and community groups seeking to protect the vulnerable are growing ever more concerned.
“We applaud the Italian authorities for seeking ever-greater standards of safety, including in micromobility. This is an industry still in its infancy with much learning still to do.
“At Superpedestrian, we’ve focused on working with our city partners, not around them. We’ve supported new initiatives, such as Italy’s first pilots of mandatory e-scooter parking hubs. We’ve created country-first partnerships, such as with ACI-Sara, Italy’s body for road safety and safe driving centres. And we’ve built world-leading active safety technologies, including VI (Vehicle Intelligence) and Pedestrian Defense, that finally solve industry challenges such as sidewalk riding and short scooter lifespans.
“In addition to proving to be a reliable partner for cities across Italy, we are proactively participating both in the parliamentary discussion and in the working group recently set up by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility.
“Our remarkable growth across Italy since we entered the country nearly 12 months ago shows that shared e-scooters can be safely integrated into communities, to the benefit of all.”