All you need to know before riding an e-scooter in Dubai

A man rides an electric scooter.- AFP file photo
A man rides an electric scooter.- AFP file photo

Dubai - Speeding riders and those who do not know how to manoeuvre it properly pose dangers to pedestrians.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Wed 13 Mar 2019, 4:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 15 Mar 2019, 9:46 AM

The electric scooter trend has finally reached the UAE, particularly the streets of Dubai. And a number of people, especially those whose homes are just a stone's throw from their offices, have already made the switch.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai recently suspended the rental operations of scooter-sharing apps, but if you've got your eyes on that two-wheeler that can zip you through the rush hour traffic, here are things we think you should know:
1-What is an e-scooter? 
It's a two-wheel, electrically powered transport device designed for one adult to stand on. It has a manual version called 'kick scooter' that will require you to push yourself forward with one of your legs hitting the ground.
2-What makes it dangerous?
There are at least four reasons for that:
> Speeding riders and those who do not know how to manoeuvre it properly pose dangers to pedestrians
> No official safety rules are put in place yet, so riders still have no idea how they can safely share the roads with other users
> It may not be visible enough to other motorists as e-scooters are relatively small and don't have enough 'warning lights'
> There are no designated lanes for e-scooters yet
3-Why did the RTA ban the e-scooter rentals in Dubai?
With more and more people riding e-scooters across the emirate, the RTA has found that the vehicle's use must be regulated. It is currently conducting a study and its results will be used to form regulations.
4-Were there reported accidents associated with e-scooters?
In other countries, yes. In France, a number of pedestrians were knocked over and injured by e-scooter riders. Some riders (even those moving at a speed of 20kmph) also got injured in mishaps, since there were no regulations on the use of helmets and other protective gear. So when a transport bill was presented in the country in October 2018, it included a new law that moved electric scooters to designated roads and cycle paths and not on sidewalks/pavements.
In Spain, e-scooters used to be left in places where they cause hazards and obstructions. On top of that, riders often speed their way on the streets, posing dangers to pedestrians. So in October last year, regulatory rules have been introduced, with Madrid banning e-scooters on sidewalks.

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