Sometimes we tend to use our cars or motorcycles for many journeys even though we are only travelling short distances or parking is difficult. Walking, public transport, cycling and travel by electric scooter are some of the alternatives to the use of personal vehicles that are gaining in popularity.
What is an electric scooter?
An electric scooter is a type of scooter propelled by an electric motor. It is intended for short trips and is driven on foot. Unlike traditional scooters, there is no need for the user to propel themself constantly.
It is a relatively new form of transport with a great future ahead. Use of electric scooters is growing, which means that many people don't need to use their cars for short journeys. In addition, it is very cheap to recharge an electric scooter.
DGT classification of electric scooters
The Spanish traffic directorate (DGT) classifies electric scooters as personal mobility vehicles or PMVs and they are governed by the regulations for this type of transport. Only scooters with a maximum speed of less than 6km/h are considered recreational vehicles or toys and do not need to meet this requirement.
This DGT regulation establishes two different categories for electric scooters.
Type A Scooters
One-or two-wheeled motorised scooters with maximum speeds of 20 km/h. They cannot exceed 25 kg in weight and can only be used by one person. This category includes unicycles, electric scooters, skateboards or electric skateboards and hoverboards.
Type B scooters
Scooters capable of achieving a speed of 30 km/h, weighing up to 50 kilos and with a maximum of one person on board. This classification includes segways, more powerful electric scooters and models with seats.
Regulation of electric scooters
The regulations governing the use of electric scooters apply throughout Spain. However, local councils have the power to establish additional measures for electric scooter use within the municipal area.
You do not need a registration document
Electric scooters are classified as PMVs (personal mobility vehicles) and not as motor vehicles, so at the moment you do not require a registration document.
The maximum speed is 25 km/h
The maximum permitted speed for electric scooters is 25 km/h. Although type B scooters or other models can reach higher speeds, exceeding the speed limit can result in fines of €500 and confiscation of the scooter.
Electric scooters do not need to be insured
At the moment scooters, unlike others vehicles such as cars, do not need to be insured. Third-party insurance is not necessary because they are considered to be PMVs and not motor vehicles. However, the DGT recommends third-party liability insurance for owners of electric scooters which covers damage to property and third parties in the event of an accident.
According to the director of the DGT, Pepe Navarro Olivella, this regulation governing electric scooters is sure to change very soon, with insurance for this type of vehicle becoming mandatory, in line with practice in other countries such as France.
Currently we can also find different local regulations governing electric scooter use. Cities such as Barcelona, Benidorm and Alicante, for example, do require electric scooter users to have insurance.
Electric scooter users must wear a helmet
Under the new Traffic, Motor Vehicle Circulation and Road Safety Law, helmets must be worn on electric scooters and other types of personal mobility vehicles.
Although use of a helmet has until now only been mandatory on type-B electric scooters, following the enactment of the new law mandatory use has also been extended to type A models.
Mandatory use of lights at night
While almost all electric scooter models already incorporate them, lights must be used at night or in low visibility conditions.
Lights must comply with the general traffic regulations, with scooters having a white front light and a red rear light.
Where are electric scooters allowed to circulate?
Electric scooters can use the bicycle lane and go on roads and lanes with a 30 km per hour speed limit, the so-called "restricted lanes". They can also use pedestrianised areas provided this is expressly allowed by the City Council.
With the new traffic regulations, users of electric scooters are prohibited from using the pavement, inter-city main roads, crossings, dual carriageways and motorways and interurban tunnels.
Local municipal authorities are responsible for restricting the use of scooters in pedestrianised areas so you are advised to find out about the regulations corresponding to your area. City Councils in places such as Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia have more restrictive rules for this type of vehicle.