The European Union is trying to combat global warming and reduce CO2 emissions so the way Germany is tackling that is by making electric scooters and skateboards legal writes Cora Werwitzke for the elective.net.
The progress in legislation is lead by the Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer because he believe is micromobility. PLEVs aren't road legal yet but the legislation is planned to make them legal in the spring of 2019. Currently the draft submitted by Scheuer is being discussed and formalised.
Here are some of the proposed rules soon to be applied to Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs):
- A maximum speed of 20 kph applies. Anything faster makes a helmet compulsory, although many users are wearing one freely anyway for safety reasons.
- Small electric vehicles are subject to compulsory insurance, including insurance plates. The damage a PLEV may cause is low in monetary terms. So more important here is the aspect of being able to identify the owner via their number plate.
- According to the ordinance, PLEVs must use “existing cycle path structures or cycle lanes”. In plain words, PLEV must share the way with bicycles and must refrain from using the road as long as there is a cycle path.
- The electric motor power is limited to 500 watts. Up to 1,200 watts are permitted for self-balancing vehicles.
- “Minimum requirements for driving dynamics” must be met. In plain English: A light electric vehicle must be roadworthy, it must be able to brake, be controllable and very probably have a lighting system. The details have not yet been defined.
- The regulation applies across Germany. This is an important circumstance to avoid creating a chaotic patchwork of different municipal regulations.
- The law is set to go into force in the spring of 2019.
These regulations does feel limiting, especially when you look at the latest electric unicycle models and how powerful they are. My KS-16S's rated power is 1200W but that is a middle range machine, the KS-18 or V10 or MSuperX's motors are 1800W or even 2000W which is already way over the legal limit.
I want to stay optimistic and be glad that at least things have started to move in the right direction and I hope that in the future, when riding an EUC becomes a normal thing, the legislation will be more adequate.