Electric Scooters in Malta: A Sustainable and Efficient Mode of Transportation
In recent years, the streets of Malta saw a remarkable transformation with the introduction of electric scooters. These sleek vehicles have gained significant popularity. Becoming a popular choice for short-distance commuting. With their ease of use, eco-friendliness and ability to navigate through narrow streets. They offer a sustainable and efficient alternative to traditional modes of transportation.
In this article, we will delve into the world of electric scooters in Malta. Exploring their benefits and regulations. As well as the impact they have had on the local community.
In October 2023, Malta’s transport ministry declared that rental e-scooters will be banned. This is to take place as of 1st March 2024.
Benefits of Electric Scooters
Getting around got much easier! Why buy a car or motorcycle when you can get access to wheels anywhere at any time? E-scooters are the easiest way to get from A to B. If you do not own a private e-scooter, you can hire one. There are plenty of e-scooters to rent all around the island. Located in urban areas, at the most frequented places and sightseeing spots. Electric scooter operators make your life simpler! They avoid the hassle and cost of buying and maintaining an e-scooter.
Download an e-scooter operator’s app. Once you download the app you need to verify your drivers licence. Through the app’s map you locate the closest scooter. You will be prompted with the directions to the scooter. All operator apps give you a time frame to reach the scooter. Once next to the scooter press rent and it unlocks.
Electric scooters in Malta bring many advantages. Both for individuals and the environment. Let’s explore some of these benefits:
- Environmentally friendly: Electric scooters produce zero emissions. Reducing air pollution and carbon footprint. Making them a clean and green transportation option versus a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle. They contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment.
- Cost-effective: Electric scooters offer a cost-effective solution for daily commuting. It costs less to buy an electric scooter compared to cars or motorcycles. E-scooters need minimal maintenance. The cost of charging the battery is insignificant. It only costs a minimal amount to unlock the e-scooter. Whilst, the ride costs a couple of cents per minute. When compared to buying fuel this means of transport is cheap.
- Ease of use and convenience: Electric scooters are very user-friendly. With intuitive controls and easy maneuverability. Their compact size allows riders to navigate through narrow streets. As well, find parking spaces with ease. Saving time and reducing parking frustration.
- Reduced Traffic Congestion: Malta’s busy streets often face traffic congestion. Especially in urban areas. Electric scooters provide a practical solution to this problem. Allowing riders to move fast through traffic and reach their destinations quicker.
- Health Benefits: Riding electric scooters provides a physical activity that promotes better fitness. It offers an opportunity to enjoy fresh air and sunshine. While traveling to work, school or leisure destinations.
Regulations and Safety
Malta is no exception to the popular trend taking over all European cities. The number of electric scooters has spiraled in recent months. But it is deemed important to strike a balance between their use and public safety. Hence, ensure that you know all about riding an e-scooter around the island.
Malta has implemented certain regulations and safety measures. To ensure the safe and responsible use of electric scooters. Here are some key points to consider:
- Registration: An electric scooter needs to be registered with Transport Malta. Before registration it needs to be inspected. To confirm that it is in line with the regulations. Inspections take place at Transport Malta’s Technical Department in Paola. Once the technical inspection is completed. Proceed to register the e-scooter with Transport Malta. Several documents need to be submitted to the Authority for registration. These are:
- Download and fill in Application Form VEH001;
- If the scooter has been imported from a Non – EU Member State, then fill in Application Form VEH004 or VEH005. This needs to be stamped by the Customs Department;
- An invoice which shows the CIF Price;
- The document issued by Transport Malta’s Technical Department;
- Third-Party Motor Vehicle Insurance Risk;
- A €10.00 administration fee is charged for each registration;
- The licence is issued free of charge for e-scooters registered for private use. The owner must have a valid identification, plate and licence disc to use the e-scooter. An annual €10.00 administration fee is charged for e-scooter licences used for hire purposes.
- Insurance: E-scooters must be insured under the Motor Third Party Liability Insurance policy. You need to get a Low-Powered-Vehicle insurance policy. To provide you with the necessary protection. This policy is available to any person aged over 18 years.
- Age and Licensing: In Malta, individuals must be at least 18 years old to ride an electric scooter. Only those who have an eligible driving licence can ride e-scooters. The driving licence can be in any one of these three categories A, B and AM.
- Riding Safety: The e-scooter needs to have headlights and rear lamp. Only one person at a time can ride the e-scooter. When you ride the e-scooter on the road, keep to the left and travel in a single file after other scooters. It is imperative that you do not make use of the mobile phone during your ride. Do not wear head or ear phones. E-scooters must always be driven in the direction of traffic.
- Safety Gear: Helmets are not mandatory. Yet, wearing a helmet is recommended for all electric scooter riders in Malta. It protects against head injuries and enhances safety. It is also advisable to wear reflective clothing. Use reflective stickers on the scooter to enhance visibility.
- Speed Limits and Restricted Areas: Electric scooters are subject to a speed limit of 20 km/hour. This speed is allowed along urban roads and cycle paths. The speed along promenades and pedestrian areas needs to be 10 km/hour. It is important for riders to adhere to traffic rules and avoid restricted areas. Such as sidewalks to ensure the safety of pedestrians. Electric scooters cannot be driven along arterial roads and through tunnels. Check your route beforehand not to end up in a prohibited area! Anyone caught breaching the law is liable to a fine or penalty points. Fines run up to €1,000.
- Parking: Responsible parking is a must! Ensure e-scooters do not obstruct walkways or impede other road users.
Impact on the Community
Electric scooters had a significant impact on the local community in Malta. Benefiting individuals, the economy and the environment. But it also created several challenges. Such as disagreement on the usage of public spaces. Road security and traffic management.
- Sustainable Mobility: Electric scooters provide a greener and more sustainable mode of transportation. Reducing reliance on fossil fuels and minimizing carbon emissions. This contributes to Malta’s commitment to environmental preservation and combating climate change.
- Tourism and Economy: Electric scooters have attracted tourists and locals alike. Offering an exciting and eco-friendly way to explore the island. The presence of electric scooters has also created new job opportunities. Such as scooter rental services and maintenance shops, boosting the local economy. Repair centers have opened and several technicians employed. Technicians repair common faults. Besides faults on control boards and battery management systems. These centers stock various parts as well wheels and tires.
- Reduced Traffic Congestion: By opting for electric scooters individuals help reduce traffic congestion. In Malta’s bustling urban areas. E-scooters replace the use of private vehicles and public transport. This results in smoother traffic flow. Reduced travel times and less frustration for commuters.
E-scooters are way more affordable than taxis. More expedient than buses and it takes you less effort than cycling a bike. Yet, they still face growing repercussions. More so as the number of e-scooter accidents increase. Pressure is mounting on the authorities to further regulate their use. Concern is arising over misuse of e-scooters. Such as the attitude of e-scooter users, excessive driving speed and reckless parking.
Unless there is a drastic change Transport Malta is considering introducing harsher fines. Or an outright ban of e-scooters from promenades and pedestrian zones. The authority is considering a reduction in the speed limit. As well as making helmets mandatory.
The authority is working on introducing designated e-scooter parking bays in several localities. This will change the way e-scooters are parked. To encourage riders to park e-scooters in a systematic manner. Any person who parks an e-scooter in a careless manner will continue to be charged. Until it is parked in a mandatory parking bay.
Future of E-Scooters
Technology is the way forward to lessen accidents. Both among riders and pedestrians. All e-scooters should be equipped with in-built sensors. Upon impact, in the lack of human intervention, the sensor will stop the scooter.
E-scooters not authorized to enter certain areas should trigger the in-built GPS. Which in turn would stop the e-scooter from entering the area. The GPS could also work to reduce the e-scooter speed. Such as when it approaches pedestrian zones.
The country’s infrastructure plays an important role for the growth of e-scooter usage. E-scooters have small wheels which make the ride uncomfortable. Bumpy road surfaces and potholes have a significant impact on riders. So, smoother road surfaces encourage further use of e-scooters.
Electric scooters have emerged as a popular and sustainable means of transportation. Their affordability and maneuverability make them an attractive choice for short-distance commuting. By adhering to local regulations and practicing safety measures. Individuals can enjoy the benefits of electric scooters. While contributing to a cleaner and more efficient transport system in Malta.