With the boom in the use of electric scooters Spain's traffic authority has issued a reminder on social media about the rules that apply to users.
It comes as a survey of scooter users conducted by insurance company RACC revealed that most of those surveyed claimed to be unaware of these basic rules. The most serious aspect, according to the Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) is that 43 per cent of those surveyed admitted to riding on the pavement, and 12 per cent had suffered an accident involving personal injury.
The traffic authority reminds electric scooter users that it is forbidden to ride on pavements, pedestrian areas, crossings, motorways, dual carriageways, interurban roads or tunnels in urban areas. Speed must be between six and 25 km/h and it is compulsory to have a braking system, a bell, lights and reflective devices at the front and rear.
In addition, the DGT noted that the authorised routes must be set out in law by the relevant urban authority and, if there is no such law, it is permitted to circulate on any urban road.
In the case of Malaga city, the town hall's mobility law states that "those using skateboards, scooters or similar devices, which are not considered to be vehicles, whether or not motorised, may not circulate on the road, except in areas, roads or parts of these that are specially designated for them. They may only circulate, adapting their speed to that of pedestrians, without ever exceeding 10 km/h, on pavements, residential streets or streets with pedestrian priority, duly signposted. Scooter users may also ride on cycle paths under the aforementioned conditions".
The toughest penalties are those related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The new Traffic Law stipulates that electric scooter users can be subject to a breathalyser test, just like other drivers. A zero blood alcohol limit has been introduced for underage drivers.
Riding an electric scooter with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.25 mg/l in exhaled air carries a fine of 500 euros, and if the level of 0.50 mg/l is exceeded, the fine rises to 1,000 euros. In the case of drugs, the fine is 1,000 euros.
Using a mobile phone or any other communication device while driving a scooter carries a fine of 200 euros; the same amount as if driving with headphones, driving at night without lighting or reflective clothing or not wearing a helmet (if the relevant municipal law makes this measure compulsory).