Ask A Broadsheet Reader



Mark H writes:

There is  no licensing difference in ireland between an electric scooter and a car or motorbike [including insurance and tax] but is this a law that is enforced? Has anyone been charged for driving an electric scooter without a licence/insurance?



44 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

    1. Dub Spot

      Yes. In the Letters Page of the Irish Times:

      Dear Sir,

      How long is it before the Hutch-Kinnan gang feud features a “drive-by” (as the young folk “rap” about) from one of those unlicensed electric scooter that now plague our streets.

      I thought of the name “scooter shooter” to be ready.

      Is this a record?

      Yours, et cetera,

      Major R Sowell,

  1. Jay

    I think it’s actually a weird loophole type thing. Though there is a provision that mechanically propelled vehicles need tax and insurance this is based on them basically being cars or motorbikes. But, that’s just a simplistic view of one line of the law.

    To be eligible for tax at a given rate they need a certificate of compliance, but because they’re not cars they’re not eligible for said certificate of compliance so no road tax applies, because no road tax applies no insurance applies.

    Also I’d be surprised if you can show me an insurance company in Ireland that’ll quote you for these.

    There is a video on YouTube that explains this, some guy looked into it in relation to electric skateboards and got confirmation from the revenue commissioners etc.

    Edit: this,

  2. millie st murderlark

    They’re super handy for nipping around on. I want one for keepsies rather than the joyride someone let me have the other weekend.

    1. Stan

      Is that your name because you just fart out the received opinion on anything at all without any brain-engagement?

      1. Dr.Fart MD

        how rude. It’s my name because it’s my family name. it’s dutch. and the dr. is for doctor, because i’m a doctor. also, it’s not opinion, if you walk around the city for a few minutes you’ll count any number of cyclists breaking road law. ipso facto.

        1. Hansel

          And if you walk around the city for a few minutes you’ll count any number of motorists breaking road law.

          What is your point, caller?
          What do you want to tell us here on live line?

          1. dan

            Why is it so controversial to point out the myriad cyclists who break the law on a daily basis. I walk through town every morning and see lots of cyclists breaking red lights – far more than motorists. Yet criticise them on here, and you get jumped on. Weird.

          2. Cian

            Two things:
            1. You are not wrong… (many) cyclists break the rules every day

            2. BUT, this post isn’t about cyclists, it’s about scooters. So cyclists breaking the laws (or not) isn’t relevant here and now.

          3. Dr.Fart MD

            I rarely see cars breaking the lights, sciddling along footpaths, going down the wrong way .. etc. etc.
            It is about scooters, my point is sort out the bigger road user issues before worrying about smaller ones.

          4. Nigel

            People can ask a straightforward question about an issue without worrying about whether there are other bigger issues, or more accurately your pet issues, get a bloody grip.

    2. Dr.Fart MD

      Nigel: yea alright, mate. I’ll get a grip. lol. massive overreaction. imagine this were real life, and you and I were watching the news, and they were talking about if people on scooters need licenses and i said to you my comment here “make cyclists obey the rules of the road for a start” and you responded “get a grip” .. the internet is wild. chat forums are wild. you’re all horrible people.

  3. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    I’d love to do a Paul Blart Mall Cop on a Segway. Absolute mastery of the machine.

  4. Rob_G

    Is this actually the case? I don’t think electric bicycles come under the tax/insurance regime; this being the case, I don’t see how electric scooters would, either.

  5. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    The use of these types of scooters has become very popular in recent years, especially with children. The legal position is that if one of these scooters can be powered by mechanical or electrical power alone, and does not require pedalling or scooting for propulsion, then the scooter is considered to be a mechanically propelled vehicle (MPV) in terms of road traffic legislation, irrespective of engine capacity. If such scooters are to be used in any public place, they require insurance and road tax as with any other MPV. The driver would also require a driving licence and is obliged to wear a crash helmet. If the user of such a scooter cannot fulfil these legal requirements, then the scooter should only be used on private property.

    Doesn’t look like it’s imposed though. Road traffic legislation is a complete and utter balls-up that needs to be consolidated but they don’t have the will/cash to do it, I’d imagine.

    1. Mickey Twopints

      “…powered by mechanical or electrical power alone, and does not require pedalling or scooting for propulsion, then the scooter is considered to be a mechanically propelled vehicle (MPV) in terms of road traffic legislation, irrespective of engine capacity.”

      Not strictly correct. The exemption is for EPAC (Electrical Power Assisted Cycles) and they are permitted to be powered at up to 6 km/h without pedalling. This is used as a “walk beside” mode where the cyclist is walking up a steep hill for example.

      Here’s a helpful publication from the source of the legislation:

      Yer man in the YouTube video is on a collision course with the law if he meets the wrong cop. Very poorly informed decisin on his part, shame to see others take his advice.

    2. Joe Small

      “Road traffic legislation is a complete and utter balls-up that needs to be consolidated but they don’t have the will/cash to do it, I’d imagine.”

      Generally a department will create a new unit to do a Consolidated Act (ideally every decade or two) and staff it will a few people of whom at least one or two have legal training. Its not that demanding resource-wide but can take 3-10 years to get done.

  6. Liam Deliverance

    What speed do they do?
    What breaking distance do they have?
    How stable are those little wheels?
    What sort of grip do those tyres offer?
    Is there a suspension system?
    How do they deal with potholes?
    Is center of balance dangerously high?
    Do they have lights?
    Do they have a bell or horn?
    How likely is it that a user, in an attempt to avoid a little old man who steps off the kerb, loses control and finds themselves under the wheels of a double decker?

    1. Ironballs_McGinty

      Yep, my main issue is that you can’t safely indicate where you’re intending to go due to the narrow handlebars.

    2. Dub Spot

      These are technical niceties.

      Face it, the riders are complete and utter vvankers. But they’re out of parking space in Silicon Docks.

  7. Liam

    Technically they’re motorised vehicles and should be taxed/insured. Considering how many people are spinning around Dublin on them, enforcement seems non-existent.

    There is an exemption for eBikes, it doesn’t cover eScooters but some TD was asking about them recently in the Dail so maybe that will change.

    1. Dhaughton99

      Ross still can’t figure out legislation for tackling Yo’s! on scramblers in housing estates and parks.

  8. Dhaughton99

    Death traps. Small wheels and wet are asking for trouble.
    Massive increase in hospital visits due to these things in the US. An Irish lad died 2 weeks ago in Austin from what I remember.

  9. Roakley

    Most electic bikes are assisted – not powered – and limited in most cases to 25kmh – go faster and the power cuts out and you have to pedal to get them going. They are legislated for and legal. Electric bikes with motors that cut out at 25km/h are classified as normal bicycles, but the increasingly popular 45km/h models are treated the same as 50cc motorcycles – subject to tax licence and insurance.

    Scooters you have to push to get going but they are really fully powered by their electric motors. At present gardaí consider electric scooters as “mechanically propelled vehicles” under road traffic law, meaning users must be taxed and have a licence and insurance to ride one on the road. They don’t seem to be doing anything however about the number of people using them openly on streets as of now.

    Separately, the Department of Transport recently said that if the device does not have a seat, it does not need to be registered under regulations governing taxation. So there is confusion. Noel Rock has published a bill aimed at clearing all this up and allowing scooters to be used on the road – which would seem to make sense although along with bikes and cars and buses might be a recipe for further chaos/road deaths.

  10. Frilly Keane

    An’ while ye’re at it
    Solving n’ answering this one like

    Where What and the how’s
    About users bringing these yokes onto buses
    Like are they to be treated as buggies
    Or wha

  11. Skeptik

    Even the electric dust carts (the ones they walk in front of) on Moore St. have a licence plate and are taxed and insured. The operator (driver?) even has to have a driving licence.

  12. Joe

    If it requires a push off with the foot to get moving it’s classified as electrically assisted similar to bicycles with electric assist and can use a bike lane but not a foot path. If it can start on its own without a push and go over 50km/h then it’s the same as a scooter.

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