The Ministry of Transport and Communications organised a second discussion on electric scooters and their safety on Tuesday 31 August 2021. The event was attended by companies in the field, as well as representatives of the Finnish Road Safety Council, local authorities, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The event was a follow-up to the previous discussion held in July, during which the parties agreed on issues such as nighttime speed limits for electric scooters.

Nighttime speed limits to apply every night throughout Helsinki

The electric scooter operators in Helsinki – Voi, TIER, and Lime – expressed their willingness to extend the nighttime speed limits for electric scooters to also include weekday nights. In future, electric scooter speeds would be limited to 15 km/h every night of the week (between midnight and 5.00 am) and in all areas of Helsinki. Currently, the nighttime speed limit is only applied in the city centre.

Electric scooter operators are also ready to reduce the maximum speed of the scooters from 25 to 20 km/h. In many European cities, the maximum speed is already set at 20 km/h.

According to the scooter operators, nighttime drunk riding could also be reduced through changes to the locations at which scooters are made available. To this end, the companies are planning to actively move scooters away from busy bar districts to reduce the likelihood of drunk riding.

“I welcome the shared commitment of the operators to improve safety, and we also discussed improving infrastructure and parking facilities. Together with the scooter operators and the City of Helsinki, we agreed to look into the possibility to make the scooters temporarily unavailable during weekend nights in the coming autumn season,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.

“Measures related to legislative changes and restrictions may be reviewed and, where appropriate, included in the transport safety strategy. However, this is an issued limited to certain localities and times of the day, so it is the local authorities who are assuming a key role as the party responsible for the security and order within the urban space,” Minister Harakka says.

What’s next?

The preparation of the transport safety strategy will continue in the autumn in co-operation with stakeholders. Electric scooter operators are also taking practical steps to improve safety, including training users and adding a “beginner’s mode” with a lower speed setting to their scooters.

Going forward, the aim is to avoid similar safety problems to those experienced this summer. Key to this is adequate knowledge of the traffic regulations and positive attitudes towards following them.

Source: Ministry of Transport and Communications