Green light for eScooter in Germany. Micromobility is spreading in large European cities,

Electric scooters, ebikes, epedal scooters, monowheels, hoverboards, segways, but also multi-lane small vehicles are so-called micromobiles, which are becoming increasingly present in European city centres.

While eScooter are already part of the street scene in EU countries, since 2018, their development in Germany has stalled. Since the 15th of June 2019 however, eScooters (also known as “eTretroller” in Germany) are now allowed to drive on German public roads when the “Elektrokleinstfahrzeuge-Verordnung” (eKFV) came into force.

The vehicles can be described as light, quiet and environmentally friendly. According to the enthusiastic ideas of private providers, eScooter and other micromobiles are the ideal means of transport for short distances in urban areas and they are also the "last mile" solution for intermodal transport.

In Germany private providers, most of whom are already active abroad, eagerly awaited vehicle approval from the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority. In many places several providers compete with one another, among them the citizen of Berlin Start-ups “Tier Mobility”, the Stockholm enterprise “Voi” as well as the Californian companies “Bird” and “Lime”.

Some larger cities fear that micromobiles will cause similar chaos on sidewalks, in parks and green areas that were observed in the recent past due to free-floating bicycles.

 

What cities already do to handle micromobility

To ensure that the offered services function properly, a uniform legal framework must be created in Europe for all forms of micromobility. The issue of safety must also be given greater attention by the suppliers. Some cities have already formed agreements with suppliers regarding  the use of eScooters, which could also be applied to other micromobiles.

In Paris for example, eScooter-sharing has been in place for one year. Currently there are about 20,000 eScooters in use, and by the end of 2019 the number is expected to increase to 40,000. eScooters are popular with city inhabitants. At first, there was no regulation imposed by the municipality and as a result numerous accidents and overcrowded pavements were the result. The French capital has now agreed a code of conduct with suppliers. According to the code, fines are imposed for incorrect parking and scooting on sidewalks and in parks. If they do not follow the code the lenders will incur high costs.

Also, in Spanish cities regulations for the use of scooters were implemented after several accidents.  For example, a 90-year-old woman was fatally injured in a collision. In Madrid, scooters may no longer be used on sidewalks, many roads and bus lanes. They are only allowed on bicycle lanes and some 30 km speed zones. Barcelona and Valencia have introduced even stricter rules than those implemented in Madrid.

 

Future questions and challenges for municipalities

Due to high media interest, municipalities are under pressure to act. A central question remains as to whether micromobility brings traffic benefits or is merely a business model that attracts further Start-up-companies to the market. Will car trips be reduced or replaced, will there be a preference for public transport journeys, or will paths, normally used for walking, be replaced by scooter journeys?

Is cycling infrastructure, that is already inadequate for cyclists, sufficient to accommodate the new vehicles or do the users switch (illegally) to pavements and crowd pedestrians and other vulnerable people? What conditions must be created for micromobility to be perceived as a solution rather than a threat that causes further intensification and competition for public space?

These are some of the questions that need to be explored in the near future for the micromobility sector, which is still very new in Germany, so that safety is guaranteed for all road users, traditional public transport and bicycle traffic are not adversely effected due to their introduction but instead the desired relief and benefits for urban traffic can be achieved.

It remains to be seen whether micromobiles will fade away or if it will become an established holistic part of the street space across European cities. In the case of Germany, it can be helpful looking abroad, at other means of transport, beyond the boundaries of transport planning to consider the issues from several perspectives and find appropriate conclusions.

See also the PROSPERITY Innovation Brief on Micromobility here.

News Archive

Green light for eScooter in Germany. Micromobility is spreading in large European cities08.07.2019
SHARE-North Webinar on 28 June: Exploring Different Approaches to Establishing Bike-Sharing Schemes in a City25.06.2019
Video Clip: Fair distribution of public space in Vienna14.06.2019
PROSPERITY final publishable report available14.06.2019
PROSPERITY Survey results on SUMP and VEP in Germany as own publication available.06.06.2019
Polish guide on SUMP presented by the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure.17.04.2019
Insight into the planning strategies of the 2018 EuropeanMobilityWeek Award winners Lisbon and Lindau.29.03.2019
The Berlin Mobility Act: a legal framework for transport transition11.02.2019
2019 sees the introduction of a new regulatory framework for Regional SUMPs in Flanders (BE)08.01.2019
CIVITAS PROSPERITY and the Transport Day at the COP24 in Katowice19.12.2018
Joint CIVITAS PROSPERITY and Eltis Workshop in Warsaw07.12.2018
Second national CIVITAS PROSPERITY event in Germany06.12.2018
The multimodal challenge under discussion in Barcelona06.11.2018
PROSPERITY partner city Varna еxchanges experience on SUMP06.11.2018
CIVITAS PROSPERITY national Portuguese meeting on SUMPs was a great success25.10.2018
CIVITAS peer-exchange programme: Open call for work placements and study visits19.10.2018
PARTICIPATE AT THE PORTUGUESE NATIONAL MEETING ON SUSTAINABLE URBAN MOBILITY PLANS14.09.2018
SUMPs in German municipalities: Results of an Online Survey14.09.2018
Register to the CIVITAS PROSPERITY SUMP webinars13.09.2018
CIVITAS Forum 2018 - Experience Europe's Inclusive and Multimodal Mobility Future03.09.2018
Apply for the 2018 SUMP Award!08.08.2018
New Report Out Now! The Status of SUMPs in EU Member States07.08.2018
SUMP National Training event gets Hungarian cities engaged in sustainable transportation planning20.07.2018
CIVITAS PROSPERITY at the International Bicycle Day in Katowice03.07.2018
City of Kassel further gets into shape for sustainable mobility25.06.2018
Promoting the SUMP concept in Poland12.06.2018
Coaching the City of Kassel in the field of evaluation of its SUMP04.06.2018
Free national SUMP Trainings11.05.2018
National SUMP training carried out in Romania02.05.2018
First Deputy Mayor of Katowice and Ministry of Infrastructure opened the CIVITAS PROSPERITY SUMP training in Poland11.04.2018
New CIVITAS PROSPERITY Innovation Briefs out now29.03.2018
CIVITAS PROSPERITY coaching session in Katowice19.03.2018
Results of the Europe-wide analysis on Higher Levels of Government – their Support for SUMP in the EU are available now26.02.2018
National conference on sustainable mobility, Ljubljana, Slovenia23.02.2018
Knowledge Exchange Session on SUMPs in the Barcelona Region22.02.2018
Updated SUMP Guidelines in Bulgarian language available now24.01.2018
SUMP Ambassadors Speak Out!11.01.2018
CIVITAS PROSPERITY Training Activities Kicked-Off19.12.2017
CIVITAS PROSPERITY seminar in Katowice12.12.2017
Urban mobility planning and policy - best practice from EU for third countries17.11.2017
CIVITAS Prosperity local/national partnerships National Task Forces to develop or sharpen SUMP Supporting Programmes11.07.2017