DRIVING electric scooters on pavements or in pedestrian areas will be totally forbidden once new traffic regulations are approved.
A fine of €200 will be imposed on people caught driving on pavements or in pedestrian areas, as well as for not wearing a helmet, talking on a mobile phone or wearing headphones.
Some 300 accidents in one year alone have been caused by this type of vehicle, which young people are passionate about but some others would appear to want to ban completely.
The first fatal accident caused by an electric scooter in Spain occurred on August 13 last year when Berta, a 90-year-old woman, was walking with the help of a frame along the Rambla del Carme, in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona).
She was returning home after her usual morning walk when she was hit from behind by an electric scooter carrying two people. It was driven by 19-year-old Alexi.
An initial charge of reckless manslaughter against Alexi was downgraded to a charge of a reckless misdemeanour, which does not carry a prison sentence.
One of the key reasons the accident was considered a misdemeanour is that he was driving at less than 10 kilometres an hour.
Berta fell and hit her head on the ground suffering an internal haemorrhage. A few hours later she died in hospital. The Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) confirmed after the incident that it was the first known death of a pedestrian by being hit by an electric scooter.
Berta’s death accelerated the debate on the need to regulate personal mobility vehicles, which have become an alternative to cars and public transport especially in crowded cities.
Cities around Spain have either brought in or are considering bylaws to control the activities of scooter hire companies as well as individual riders.
The new traffic regulations – which have yet to be approved – would bring in a minimum national regulation of the electric devices.