The realm of Temporary Mobility Vehicles (VMT), including electric scooters, sees a new regulation taking effect this Monday, January 22: circulation certificates. This recent development mandates manufacturers to indicate on the devices themselves that they have undergone specific safety tests and to provide technical specifications. Despite the announcement by the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) a year ago, alongside the manual of characteristics issued by the authority, this is catching users unaware as they seek to acquire one from their trusted stores.
Implementation of Circulation Certificates:
According to several retail companies dealing in these devices, this new certificate has been appearing on their devices for “several months” now. Manufacturers and suppliers have reacted in advance to comply with this measure. As of this Monday, no vehicle is sold without this distinctive certificate, resembling a plate that includes information such as maximum speed, serial number, or certificate number.
Transition Period for Older VMTs:
The manager of Easy Way, Abel Ricardo, reassures users with older VMTs that they need not worry. They can continue to “circulate normally” for some time. Specifically, until January 22, 2027, when the DGT plans to put an end to non-compliant scooters. In other words, all those sold until January 22, 2024, can continue to operate until the specified date.
Impact on Existing Stock:
Nacho Villalobos from Navarro Hermanos notes that this new requirement is simply an “extra” piece of information about the device’s characteristics. However, he warns that retailers with “older” scooters in stock, lacking this technical description, will need to take steps to obtain it.
Industry Response and Future Prospects:
According to the consulted companies, this new regulation is not a cause for concern, as they are already in compliance with “sufficient margin.” They also do not anticipate a decline in demand for this reason. However, contrasting opinions arise when comparing it to recent regulations restricting these vehicles’ use on trains, the metro, and buses, a development considered problematic for users by some stores.
Challenges to Versatility and Complementarity:
The recent restrictions on using VMTs on public transportation are viewed negatively by stores, as they nullify the primary benefits of these vehicles, namely their “versatility and complementarity.” These features were particularly useful for individuals commuting from distant areas to work in the city or vice versa, providing convenience in covering the remaining distance to their workplace.
Upcoming Safety Regulations:
In addition to the current changes, it is essential to consider the upcoming mobility ordinance that the City Council is soon to approve, mandating helmets as a compulsory safety element. This regulation, although not definitively approved, adds another layer of consideration for VMT users and retailers alike.
Read more here about electric scooters in Spain: Electric Scooters Banned On Trains and Public Transport
Current Regulations for Electric Scooters in Spain in 2023
Electric scooters became a permanent fixture in our country a few years ago, successfully displacing mopeds and, in many cases, bicycles. Navigating city streets on these Personal Mobility Vehicles is highly advantageous, given their relatively affordable prices and minimal maintenance requirements.
Widespread Adoption of Electric Scooters:
The use of electric scooters is already prevalent throughout Spain, with a significant user base among young people, including many minors. For parents, the request for a scooter from their children is often a relief, as these vehicles are deemed less hazardous than mopeds, primarily due to their lower speeds. However, it is crucial for users to possess basic road safety knowledge and adhere to regulations to avoid fines and potential issues with pedestrians and other vehicles, which will be extensively discussed in this article.
Regulatory Framework in 2023:
For a considerable period, Spain had been considered to have a ‘legal loophole’ regarding electric scooters. This changed with Royal Decree 970/2020, implemented on January 2021.
This regulation provides a comprehensive framework for the use of Personal Mobility Vehicles across Spain. However, individual municipalities retain the authority to make specific points, set limitations, and impose bans through ordinances. It’s crucial to note this, as regulations for electric scooters in Madrid, for instance, may differ from those in Barcelona.
Key Regulations for Electric Scooters in Spain in 2023:
Royal Decree 970/2020 establishes specific parameters and recommendations for the use of electric scooters and other VMPs.
Areas of Use and Maximum Speed:
Driving on sidewalks is strictly prohibited, as is the use of scooters in pedestrian areas. Electric scooters are designed for urban use, and users can legally travel at speeds ranging from 6 to 25 kilometers per hour on streets and avenues. However, interurban roads are entirely off-limits.
Users with scooters supporting higher speeds must not exceed 25 km/h on public roads, and attempting to bypass manufacturer-imposed limitations is also illegal.
Legal Age for Electric Scooter Operation:
In adherence to regulations, the minimum age for operating an electric scooter in Spain is 16 years old. In case of accidents or damage to third parties, legal responsibility rests with the parents or guardians of the minor.
Municipal ordinances have some influence, with certain councils lowering the minimum age for electric scooter use to meet local demands. For example, in Madrid and Seville, the minimum age for VMP use is 15 years, while in Pamplona, it is 14 years.
Alcohol and Drug Use:
Despite not requiring a license, operating an electric scooter under the influence of alcohol can result in fines ranging from 500 to 1,000 euros, depending on the alcohol level. For drug use, the most severe sanctions apply, and the user’s vehicle will be immobilized.
Helmet Requirement in 2023:
As of now, wearing a helmet is not mandatory under Spanish law. However, exceptions may be established by individual City Councils, requiring specific users such as minors, professionals, or certain VMP types to use a helmet. Failure to comply may result in penalties of 200 euros. Regardless, the use of helmets is always recommended.
Other Mandatory Regulations:
Using a mobile phone while riding or using headphones is not legal and may result in fines of 200 euros each. Riding with two people on a single scooter is prohibited, with a fine of 100 euros. Driving at night without lights may lead to a 200 euros fine, with reflective clothing also mandated for nighttime use.
Technical Requirements for VMPs in 2023:
There is no standardized database for the numerous VMP devices. However, the regulations outline mandatory technical requirements for these vehicles to comply with the law. This includes a braking system for safe stopping, a bell or horn for acoustic warnings, and specific lighting requirements, including a white front light and a brake light on the back. Reflective panels are also mandatory to enhance visibility, and regular checks are advised to ensure their stability.