Bicycle Advocacy Group’s Initial Reaction to the Electric Kickscooters Policy
Following the launch of the Preliminary Abridged Guidelines for the Regulation of the Micromobility Class which will regulate the use of e-kickscooters in Malta, BAG is showing its concern that such regulations as proposed will further impede mass adoption of sustainable transportation in Malta.
Whilst a level of regulation is welcome, the proposed guidelines will serve to discourage the use of such scooters, especially with the high level of restrictions being imposed. One can note that fines to non-adherence are far greater than offences committed by car drivers, such as driving whilst using a mobile phone. The registration, license and insurance fees involved, while seemingly nominal, are far higher than those required to pay for a motorcycle with a 125cc engine.
Other restrictions on certain roads will also make it impossible for users of such e-kickscooters to arrive at their destination, whilst also being restricted from taking a primary position which shall increase the dangers of car-dooring. The list of roads which have been marked as no-go zones for e-kickscooters will mean that it would be impossible for many commuters to make use of such a mode of transport, given that there are no feasible alternatives. Such regulations strongly suggest that the authorities are regarding these e-kickscooters as ‘toys’ to be used for leisure purposes, rather than as a form of mobility.
This also fails to promote micromobility with the younger generation, since those under 18 are not allowed to make use of these e-kickscooters. BAG would like to point out that there is a large catchment area of young people which benefits from using such transport to travel on short distances and increase one’s independence. This is also a lost opportunity to help create the much needed mentality of independence from cars, such as is the case with the National Cycling Strategy. Such strategies should cater for their intended users, which unfortunately has not been the case.
BAG questions what are the real intentions of the Transport Ministry as regards to micromobility in Malta and how does it adhere to its current policy of sustainable transport and mission, as often publicised on billboards, of creating roads for all users. BAG urges the public to submit their feedback about these guidelines during the consultation period as they have done for the National Cycling Strategy. The Group will also invite its members to suggest alternative proposals so as it can submit its suggestions to the Sustainable Mobility Unit at Transport Malta.