New users, a different kind of mobility
Drive your electric scooter safely
Bicycles, electric scooters, Segways… the way we get around cities has changed and has an impact on everyone who uses the public highways and byways. To adapt traffic regulations to this new scenario, Spain’s Directorate General for Traffic (DGT) has approved a package of measures that regulate the incorporation of scooters into urban traffic, among other issues.
The first thing you need to know is that an electric scooter is a PMV; in other words, a vehicle with one or more wheels for transporting a single individual, powered exclusively by electric motors that can provide a maximum speed of between 6 and 25 km/hour.
Now you know which category your scooter belongs to, the next most important thing is knowing what you can and cannot do with it. Royal Decree 970/2020, which went into force in January 2021, regulates the use of electric scooters, establishing that they cannot be driven on sidewalks or in pedestrian areas, that they are prohibited on interurban roads, crossings, motorways and highways that run within urban areas, and urban tunnels, and that they must comply with traffic regulations just like any other vehicle.
In addition, you should never forget that you a driving a vehicle and, as such, you are subject to the same regulations governing the use of drugs and alcohol at the wheel as other drivers. Remember that you may not exceed a blood-alcohol level of 0.25 mg/l and that if you are breathalyzed and show positive for alcohol or drugs, you will be penalized and your scooter will be immobilized.
Like all other drivers, when riding an electric scooter you may not use a cellphone or any other communication system, and helmets or headphones connected to receiving devices or sound players are also prohibited.
If you’re already clear that you’re driving a vehicle and how and where you can drive, you just need to adopt a few measures to increase your safety. Here are our recommendations:
- You may not need a permit or license to use a PMV, but that doesn’t mean you should not abide by the general traffic regulations and those specific to the city in which you are going to drive it. Remember that the maximum speed is 25 km/h. According to our study entitled Crash tests on electric scooters and risks associated with the charging procedures: recommendations for safe use, at a speed of 25 km/h the risk of serious injury is already considerable, from the point of view of both the electric scooter rider and the pedestrians it may crash into.
- Never ride on the sidewalks or in pedestrianized areas.
- Always adjust your speed to other road users and the conditions of the road.
- Wear appropriate footwear that allows full contact between the entire sole of the foot and the scooter platform – do not wear flip-flops or high heels, for example. This will give you more stability while riding.
- Always use these vehicles responsibly, and always take other road users into account, especially children, the elderly, people with reduced mobility and pregnant women.
- Use protective clothing such as gloves, and never forget to wear a helmet.
- Use reflective clothing and materials to make you more visible to other users of the public highway.
- Be considerate when parking your PMV. Electric scooters are allowed to use the parking areas for motorcycles and bicycles. You may not park on sidewalks apart from the odd exception, and provided that it does not obstruct people with reduced mobility from getting past.
- Make sure you maintain your electric scooter properly, Check the condition of the tires, battery, suspension, steering, transmission, etc. on a regular basis.
This infographic provides a summary of how you should ride your electric scooter. Get informed, take the appropriate safety measures, and enjoy riding it!